Macau’s latest Covid-19 patient, a university student who returned from Taiwan, has been tested and confirmed as carrying the Alpha mutation of SARS-CoV-2, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center revealed yesterday.
The 21-year-old patient was asymptomatic as of June 9 when he tested positive for the virus by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test. Prior to his flight on May 30, and upon arrival in Macau the same day, he tested negative for the virus in two separate tests.
He flew to Macau from Taiwan on Starlux Airlines Flight 205 in seat 16H.
On June 9, apart from the PCR test, he was also tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies. He had a positive result in IgM antibody and a negative in IgG, indicating that his infection was quite new.
After admitting the patient to the public Conde de São Januário Hospital, the Health Bureau (SSM) ran a DNA arrangement on the virus sample collected from the 21-year-old student.
It was later confirmed that he has contracted the Alpha type of virus, which was first discovered in the UK.
The patient denied that he had been diagnosed with the disease or had taken any Covid-19 jab. He revealed that his roommate in Taiwan had earlier been diagnosed with the disease.
As the disease sweeps through the northern part of Taiwan, another entrant from the island also tested positive for the IgM antibody, the Novel Coronavirus Center revealed yesterday.
The 38-year-old Taiwanese man works as a clerk at a trading company. The man arrived in Macau on May 26 by Starlux Airlines flight 203. He booked the Grand Coloane Resort for quarantine upon arrival. His first PCR test, conducted upon arrival, yielded a negative result.
Yesterday, the man was tested for SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and was confirmed as having the IgM antibody, meaning that he had contracted the virus. He was asymptomatic as of yesterday.
For safety reasons, the SSM transferred him from the hotel to the Public Health Clinical Center in Coloane for medical observation.
In order to board the flight to Macau, he got a negative SARS-CoV-2 result beforehand. He also denied that he had been diagnosed with the disease or taken the vaccine.
The SSM has lengthened the quarantine-upon-arrival from 14 days to 21 for entrants from Taiwan. Considering that some patients may not be filtered out by the PCR test, entrants from Taiwan are tested for the antibodies once between the eighth and the 12th day of their quarantine.
If an entrant tests positive for any type of antibody related to the disease, their quarantine-upon-arrival will be lengthened by seven days.
Meanwhile, the government announced that, from today, entrants who have been to Taiwan in the 21 preceding days must perform seven days of self-health monitor following the end of their 21 days of quarantine. They will have a PCR test on the 27th day.
These entrants will have a Yellow Health Code for the seven-day self-health monitoring period, meaning that, pursuant to current guidelines and regulations, they will not be accepted in hotels, restaurants, offices and public transport.
The government did not explain how these entrants – if they do not have friends or relatives in Macau – will be able to leave their quarantine hotels at the end of their hotel quarantine, as they will not be allowed on public transport.
Health Code system
to be finetuned
Dr Leong Iek Hou, Coordinator at the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, revealed that the local Health Code system will be refined after several malfunctions in the previous days.
In order to contain the potential spread of the disease from the neighboring Guangdong Province, the Novel Coronavirus Center has made the code mandatory upon entry to a list of venues, such as barbershops and hair salons, gym halls and beauty parlors.
This has possibly brought higher traffic to the platform — however, the SSM attributed the recent log-offs to the instability of the Guangdong PCR test database.
In response, the Novel Coronavirus Center announced that an updated platform should be available within days. The new platform will allow the user to declare their use of their Health Code. If it is used for local access only, the system will not connect to the Guangdong PCR test database.
It is the first time the government admitted that the Health Code system has interactions with the counterpart database in Guangdong.
For individuals who have no access to smart devices, the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS), in association with social service entities, will provide Health Code access and printing services at about 110 service points.
The full list of service points will be uploaded on the IAS website when ready.