First community cases in 18 months prompt Macau-wide COVID testing blitz

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Macaus Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre has announced that all residents will be required to take a COVID-19 test within 72 hours from 9am Wednesday after a family of four were confirmed positive.

A total of 41 testing points, including at properties of all six gaming concessionaires, will be established to run 24/7 while the health codes of all residents will turn blue from 4 August, only returning to green once a negative test result has been obtained. Anyone who does not complete a virus test will see their health code turn yellow.

Among the casinos and resorts to provide testing facilities are Sands Macao, Grand Lisboa, MGM Macau, Wynn Macau, StarWorld, The Venetian Macao, Wynn Palace, MGM Cotai, Studio City and Broadway.

The health code system will also be used to determine entry into all public places, with a green code required for entry into casinos, hotels and guesthouses, food and beverage outlets, karaoke bars and nightclubs, saunas and massage parlours, plus sporting complexes, medical institutions, government offices and most retail outlets among others.

The government said Tuesday that Macau would enter a state of immediate pandemic prevention, meaning that anyone wanting to leave Macau into Zhuhai must also show a negative test result obtained within the previous 24 hours. Zhuhai will implement mass virus tests for all residents on 4 July.

Macau is now facing a high risk of COVID-19 transmission and pandemic outbreak in the local community, the government said via a statement.

In order to curb the virus spread and ensure the safety and health of residents, the Macau SAR government has announced that as of 3:30pm on 3 August, the city has entered a state of immediate pandemic prevention as outlined in Article 8(3) of Civil Pretention Law.

The latest infections are the first within the Macau community since February 2020, when Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng famously closed all of Macaus casinos for 15 days.

The family of four became confirmed infections on Tuesday, with the government quickly blocking off and defining their residential and work areas as red code areas. Those living in these areas are not allowed to leave.

It was first reported by the Zhuhai health authority that a couple from Macau had received virus tests in Zhuhai before returning to Macau on 2 August, after which time they returned positive results. The couples son and daughter have also tested positive for the Delta variant.

It is believed the daughter who had been in XiAn via Zhuhai on 19 July with 29 students and teachers of Hou Kong Middle School is the source of the outbreak.

It has been reported that two positive cases in Zhongshan and Zhuhai had been on a flight which arrived in Zhuhai from Nanjing on 19 July, before the same plane departed to XiAn on the same day. The daughter of Macaus infected family was on that second flight. She is said to have showed symptoms in XiAn but did not report to the health authority before returning to Macau on 25 July.

Thus, Macaus health authority has therefore defined the daughter as an imported case, and her three family members are considered import-related cases.

Another 18 associates on the same flight have since returned negative test results.