Macau testing blitz complete with all 716,000 tests returning negative COVID-19 result

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Macau completed its COVID-19 testing blitz on Friday, with all 716,000 tests conducted returning negative results.

According to information from the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre, a total of 614,465 people were tested under the SARs citywide free testing program while another 101,786 people underwent a test at their own expense. It was confirmed on Sunday morning that there had been no positive results.

The hugely encouraging news comes after a family of four Macau locals tested positive last week, sparked by the daughter having recently returned from a trip to Zhuhai. The cases prompted the Macau government to implement a citywide testing blitz to ensure any potential outbreak was quickly nipped in the bud.

As of 4pm Sunday, only 4,704 people in Macau had not yet received a COVID-19 test with 2,259 of those being Macau residents. The health authority has urged them to receive tests as soon as possible or potentially face a forced 14-day medical quarantine.

According to Health Bureau officials, the city is not planning to implement another testing blitz again soon.

We will not launch the second round of mass testing if all close contacts, their close contacts, general contacts and those who hold red or yellow health code are not infected with the virus, said Tai Wa Hou, Medical director of the Public hospital, on Sunday.

Despite some confusion on day one of the testing blitz with long lines at some testing stations, the fact that Macau completed the substantial project on time and was able to ensure the community remains COVID free continues to set a strong example to the rest of the world in its COVID-19 management, with the family of four who tested positive last week being the first local cases recorded in 18 months.

With the success of the blitz, Macau has already started communication with the mainland about easing border policies.

However, Zhuhai has tightened requirements on travellers entering from Macau, such as those who hold red or yellow health codes, with 14-days of quarantine require on arrival. Those who hold a green health code anyone who has received a test and returned a negative result since the start of the testing blitz must undergo three days of two tests and stay at home for 14 days while avoiding leaving home. Those returning to Macau on the day of their arrival are not impacted by the rule.