Entertainment venues closed, dine-in services banned in Macao after Omicron cases surge to 110
Published: Jun 24, 2022 01:17 AM
Food stores at Rua do Cunha street in Macao Photo: IC

Food stores at Rua do Cunha street in Macao Photo: IC

Entertainment venues were ordered to close and dine-in services at restaurants were banned from Thursday afternoon in the Macao Special Administrative Region (SAR) after the city's COVID-19 infections increased to 110 in the latest flare-up. The chief executive of the Macao SAR assured the public that the outbreak would be curbed soon. 

According to a statement released by the Macao SAR government, all cinemas, theaters, indoor playgrounds, cafes, gymnasiums, bars, barber shops and public swimming pools will be closed from 5 pm on Thursday. And all restaurants are prohibited from providing dine-in services, but take-out services will not be affected. 

According to data from the local counter COVID-19 authority, Macao recorded 110 COVID-19 infections as of 3 pm on Thursday in this outbreak and the epidemiological investigations are still ongoing. 

In order to curb the spread of the virus, a second round of citywide nucleic acid testing will be carried out across Macao from Thursday to Saturday, following the first round of citywide testing that ended on Tuesday. 

Macao SAR Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng said during a press conference on Thursday that the current epidemic situation in Macao is more grim and complex than ever. 

Nevertheless, Ho also said that the epidemic is still controllable and the supply of daily necessities has increased and remains stable thanks to help from the central government, South China's Guangdong Province and other provinces. 

The epidemic will be brought under control and normality will be restored as soon as possible, Ho said, urging the public not to rush to purchase daily supplies. 

According to Ho, the variant that caused the outbreak is the Omicron sub-variant BA5.1 which is spreading in the UK and the US but has not yet spread in the mainland. This adds to the difficulty in the ongoing origin-tracing work, including investigations into cold-chain foods. 

Ho stressed that the highly transmissible BA5.1 might spread quickly but it does not do no more serious harm to the human body. The treatment for the sub-variant is the same as that of previous variants, Ho noted. 

On Tuesday, the Macao SAR initiated two contingency plans, including makeshift hospitals and the arrangement of quarantine hotels, ensuring sufficient quarantine and treatment facilities amid rising epidemic risks. 

Section C of the makeshift hospital in the Macao East Asian Games Dome will be put into use from 6 am on Friday to expand the service space and meet the needs of epidemic prevention and control, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced Thursday. 

The venue is more spacious than the temporary quarantine and testing site which will be closed on Friday. 

Compared with the temporary site, Section C is used for quarantine and classifying at-risk people including close contacts of confirmed patients. 

The Macao SAR said in April that makeshift hospitals would be launched if the total infection number exceeded 50. 

The city has taken a series of controlling measures to fight the epidemic after positive cases were found in communities last Saturday. The city entered an immediate preventive status on Sunday with all universities and schools suspending their classes and public venues and parks closing. 

Global Times