RAT to continue until Friday, new round of mass testing hinted

All people in Macau will have to continue to perform daily Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT), at least until Friday (November 4), the director of Health Bureau (SSM) Alvis Lo announced today during the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center press briefing.

The measure comes alongside the ongoing citywide nucleic acid test (NAT) and, as Lo explained, is a temporary measure during the expected period of peak influence of typhoon “Nalgae.”

After that, that is, over the weekend, it is expected that the whole population will be asked to undergo a new round of mass testing. The same official justified this “high probability” with the fact that there may be infections in the community linked to those found in the last few days that, because of the incubation period, might not be detected in the current mass testing round that closes at 11 a.m. tomorrow.

Questioned on the topic, Lo said, “First we need to see the results of this round [of mass testing] and also coordinate with the conditions because of the typhoon. But I can say that the possibility of the need for a new round of mass testing is not low. We believe it might be necessary to do [at least] one more round as there may be people that have been infected due to contact with the infected cases and are still in the incubation period and so will not be detected in this round.”

The SSM director also announced at the same briefing that in this outbreak there are two groups identified, noting that they are all related to a common point located across the border in the neighboring city of Zhuhai.

Lo also said that although the strain of the virus is the same as the one detected during the outbreak on June 18, the genetic sequencing of DNA of the virus shows both that the current cases are all related and that they are different from the previous cases. The head of the local authorities also said that the same epidemiological investigation has also concluded that this virus does not match any of the ones detected in those people that arrived in Macau from several places around the world.

No new cases found from mass tests, so far

In the ongoing citywide NAT testing that started early this morning and that has continued until 3 p.m. more than 275,000 samples, no results have yet returned a positive result. Over 66,000 people have already received their results and that includes not only the NAT drive but also the red zones and the tests done at MGM Cotai, Lo announced, adding that if the authorities take into account the NATs performed yesterday (October 31), over 499,000 tests have already been done.

Concurrently, over 600,000 RAT results have also been received via the online report platform, all negative.

No distribution of additional RAT kits

Questioned by the media on whether the government intends to distribute more RAT kits to the population so that they can continue to perform the daily tests, the SSM director said that for the time being the authorities are not considering distributing more of the self-test kits as “people should have enough,” he said.

Lo noted that during the last rounds of mass testing of the outbreak of June 18, the authorities have distributed several kits which people should still have and that should be enough for the upcoming days, hinting that those who do not have them anymore might have to buy new ones at their own expense.

Categories Breaking News Macau