Macau to complete testing by today

Finance | Jane Cheung 6 Aug 2021

About 376,000 people - 55 percent of Macau's population - have been tested for Covid as the hub tries to curb the contagious Delta variant. Some people queued for up to six hours for the testing.

Authorities suspended from yesterday the administration of vaccines at its only inoculation center at Desportivo Mong-Ha to turn it into another test site to meet the high demand.

Macau aims to test the entire population by today.

By 4pm, 376,000 people had been sampled and 115,000 results came back negative.

Health authorities said the citywide test was progressing well and called for people not to rush to get tested as they will be considered to have complied with the test order as long as they are sampled by today.

However, all 42 test centers - open round the clock since Tuesday - still saw people waiting in long queues in the rain yesterday, despite only accepting those with online bookings.

Waiting time was compressed to less than an hour in the afternoon, a huge improvement from up to five and six hours on Wednesday.

A woman in the queue said: "I rushed here once I got off work but there were already too many people so I went home."

Although the overall waiting time was shorter yesterday, she complained about messy arrangements as there were no ushers in the center.

Since Wednesday, Zhuhai has been requiring arrivals from Macau to provide a negative result taken within 12 hours before crossing the border.

Zhuhai residents working in Macau, however, could not receive their results within 12 hours after sampling and failed to meet the requirement.

Some attempted to seek help from their employers but were not given special accommodation and were forced to sleep on the streets near the land border.

The testing was triggered by a family of four infected by the Delta variant first discovered in India.

They were a father, 51, mother, 43, son, 15, and daughter, 12, all of whom were in stable condition in a hospital.

The daughter last month went on an exchange trip to Xian and was believed to have contracted the variant on her flight to the Shaanxi provincial capital in central China and subsequently passed it to her family.

She had shared the same hotel room with a 13-year-old Hong Kong girl, who had come back through the Return2HK scheme and stayed at Luxe Manor Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The hotel was under overnight lockdown from Wednesday evening

Also under lockdown was Tung Lo Court in Sham Shui Po, where a 43-year-old construction worker living there tested preliminary positive.

About 730 people were tested in the two lockdowns but none tested positive. The construction worker became a confirmed case yesterday, but was believed to be an undetected case from months earlier.

He was among six new infections yesterday, with the other five imported from Ireland, Cambodia, the United States, Thailand and Russia.

Hong Kong's tally yesterday was 12,003, including 212 deaths.

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