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Macao begins city-wide nucleic acid testing

MACAU, June 19 - The Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) Government has launched a round of mass nucleic acid testing for all residents starting from 12 noon today, after fresh COVID-19 cases were detected in Macao last night. The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced the mass testing operation in a press briefing this morning.

This round of mass nucleic acid testing is scheduled to be completed in 48 hours. The Coordination Centre is urging every resident to take the test as soon as possible, since the new wave of cases seems to have spread rapidly.

A total of 53 testing stations, with in aggregate 342 sample-taking booths, has been opened and will run round-the-clock. Residents must make a prior appointment online to take their test.

According to the Coordination Centre, every resident will be given three sets of a COVID-19 rapid antigen testing kit after doing their initial nucleic acid test in the mass round of testing. The testing kits supplied at that time should be kept at home and saved for later use.

Depending on the spread of the latest outbreak, the Government will require all residents to conduct a round of rapid antigen testing at home, and then upload the result online.

In a separate development, all restaurants in Macao will suspend dine-in services, and only offer takeout food, in a bid to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Meanwhile the Government is urging all residents to stay at home, and avoid going out, except for necessary grocery shopping.

The new wave of COVID-19 cases was first discovered yesterday (Saturday) evening when a test sample from Kiang Wu Hospital produced a ‘positive’ result. At least 10 more people related to this confirmed case have also tested ‘positive’ so far.

Presently, Edf. Yim Lai (Rua de Manuel de Arriaga No. 66-66C) and PADRE Modern Cuisine (Avenida da Praia Grande No. 251, Edf. Tak Fong, G/F, Shop B and C) have been classified as “lockdown zones”. Among measures imposed, are a ‘red’ health code for people at those locations, and on-site nucleic acid testing of individuals there.