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Covid-19 | Study points to second peak for Chinese New Year

A study by the University of Science and Technology of Macau predicts a second peak of covid-19 infections for the Chinese New Year. The report presented by the team of researchers revealed that about 70 percent of those infected had symptoms of fever, cough and sore throat.

A study carried out by a team of academics from the University of Science and Technology of Macau (MUST) indicates that Macau may be the scene of a second peak of covid-19 infections during the Chinese New Year holidays, which begins January, 22th.

The new high point in the registration of positive cases may be influenced by the entry of a greater volume of tourists from Mainland China, as well as the easing of travel restrictions with Hong Kong. As such, academics advise the Government to prepare for the new peak by saving medical resources to help the most severe cases.

The research carried out by academics at the Faculty of Engineering and Technology is based on a random questionnaire to 2,553 people, which indicates that the highest number of positive cases in one day was recorded on December 23, 256, which at that time corresponded to around 10 percent of all infections.

As for the effects, the study indicates that the peak of more severe infections is registered a week after the peak of all infections, remaining stable for two to three weeks, causing great wear on the health system.

Regarding rapid and nucleic acid test results, the MUST team reports that more than half of the survey participants tested positive in 5 to 10 days, while 8 percent tested positive in 1 to 3 days. Only 2 percent of respondents tested positive for more than 10 days. The duration of the positive result was longer in older people.

With regard to symptoms, more than 70 percent of people reported fever, sore throat and/or cough, while 17 percent temporarily lost their sense of smell.

Variants of the moment
Before the end of the year, the secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Elsie Ao Ieong U, declared that “the peak of infections in Macau has passed, with the number of infected individuals decreasing, and the authorities are concentrating their efforts, at this moment, in hospital resources to treat the seriously ill”.

Regarding the MUST study, and the forecast of a second peak in the Chinese New Year, the secretary assured that “the health authorities will continue to closely and attentively monitor the evolution of the epidemiological situation of covid-19 in the world, including the mutation of the virus, the rate of infection, hoping that the population will prepare for possible periodic peaks of the pandemic”.

The secretary indicated that based on the analysis of “various information, including the number of declarants on the self-assessment platform”, infected people treated at community clinics and calls to the helpline, the “peak of infections was recorded between the 21st and 23rd from December”. After these dates, the authorities saw a downward trend in positive cases. Elsie Ao Ieong U estimated on December 30 that about 50 percent of the population would have already been infected with covid-19.

The official referred that the vast majority of people who claim to be infected on their own initiative have the objective of requesting a medical certificate to present at work and justify absences due to illness.

According to virus analysis results, the predominant variants in Macao are Ómicron BF.7 and BA.5, with the latter having a higher proportion.

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