Health authorities in Macau said on Sunday they were hopeful the number of daily new Covid-19 infections detected in the community – i.e., outside quarantine venues – could drop to zero during the course of this week.
All the city’s non-essential businesses – including casinos – have been shut since July 11, as a Covid-19 countermeasure. The government announced on Saturday that the partial lockdown would be extended to the end of Friday, July 22.
Leong Iek Hou (pictured, second right), a senior official of the city’s Health Bureau, said at a Sunday press briefing of Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre, that there was a possibility the city could achieve this week its “dynamic zero-Covid-19” epidemic-control goal.
“We have recorded a downward trend in the number of community cases detected,” she said. “But we need to continue with our efforts” to achieve that target, Ms Leong added.
The health official said that, once Macau was able to reach “zero Covid-19”, it would move from partial lockdown to a “consolidation stage”, under which non-essential businesses could gradually resume operations but with strict Covid-19 measures in place. The local authorities have yet to provide details on the restrictions that would apply in this stage, including whether casinos would be allowed to reopen to the public.
Macau is to have three more rounds of community-wide nucleic acid testing for Covid-19 detection this week. Since a current testing programme started on June 19 and up to Sunday, a total of 10 rounds have been conducted.
Macau had a total of 1,755 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of midnight on Sunday, in the current local outbreak since June 18. A total of 22 new infections was detected on Sunday, according to the local health authorities. Of those, a total of 14 involved people already in some form of quarantine, and four were linked to people considered “close contacts” of confirmed Covid-19 cases. Two cases were detected as part of the Covid-19 community nucleic acid testing scheme, and the other two were found within the community.
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