An alleged violation during the mandatory quarantine triggered by the current Covid-19 outbreak was confirmed at the now daily health press conference yesterday.
Near the end of the press conference, the panel of officials were questioned whether they were aware of people in quarantine at the Sheraton hotel allegedly breaking rules.
They were reported to have opened their doors for a longer period than needed when getting their food. They were also said to have ordered food from outside the hotel that was delivered to their room.
Videos seen by the Times show a man sitting on a small chair in the doorway of a hotel room, with a small coffee table or luggage bench next to the door.
The man is seen smoking, with the door wide open. A glass and a bottle of alcohol, believed to be brandy or cognac, are also visible in front of him.
Another video shows someone throwing something from one room to the opposite room. According to the caption of the video, this is believed to be a can of beer.
Health officials have reiterated that quarantine is needed to break the chain of transmission by detecting positive cases.
In response to the question, public health doctor Leong Iek Hou, division head at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, confirmed that sending supplies into quarantine hotels for guests has been permitted in the past two years or so.
“However, we have regulated the type of materials to be delivered and the frequency of delivery,” Leong added. “We only allow one delivery per day, which is conducted during specific hours. Food items that spoil [easily] are also not allowed.”
In addition, the public health official said that guests in quarantine are permitted to open their doors briefly to receive food, which is delivered three times a day and placed on chairs or coffee tables outside their doors.
“They should also wear masks properly when they get their food,” Leong added. “I’m not certain whether the cases you reported have opened their doors to pick up food or otherwise.”
Meanwhile, Liz Lam Tong Hou, division head for public relations at the Macao Government Tourism Office, said that the Sheraton hotel had been ordered to produce a report on the matter.
Passing materials from one room to another poses risks of transmission, because the objects can transmit the virus.
After the press conference ended, the panel of officials hurried away from the event venue. As they were leaving, Health Bureau director Alvis Lo, who was near the front of the group, turned back and called for Leong to “discuss it.” It was unclear whether the officials planned to discuss the alleged violations or other topics related to disease control.