Gov’t affirms no lack of Tamiflu in Macau

Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Issue 692, Page 2
Word count: 722
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture, Chui Sai On, affirmed yesterday that Macau has enough drugs such as Tamiflu and flu protective clothing in stocks, which also meet the requirements of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Chui, who is also the chairman of the prevention and response co-ordination team for influenza pandemic, visited the preventive measures set up at the Kiang Wu Hospital and the Macau University of Science and Technology Hospital (University Hospital) in the morning.

He said after the visits that the related public departments, public and private medical institutes and associations have already set up a “comprehensive protective net” to fight against Influenza A (H1N1) virus in Macau.

He urged again the local population, organisations and institutions to strictly follow the health guidelines issued by the authority so as to optimise the effectiveness of the precautions.

While the government will continue to give full strength to prevent an epidemic from happening in the territory, Chui said it is hard to guarantee that such new strain of virus could be completed blocked from entering Macau.

However, he emphasised that Macau has reserved adequate drugs, flu protective garments and testing equipment which all meet the WHO requirements.

“Maintaining personal hygiene is the most important precaution right now. But residents do not need to panic and should not let their daily lives be affected,” Chui said.

If Macau’s influenza epidemic alert happens to be raised to the maximum level of 6, according to the “Infectious Disease Prevention Act”, Chui said the chief executive could approve the establishment of a territory-wide command centre at the Tourism Activities Centre to co-ordinate and instruct influenza controls and treatments.

Various hardware and software facilities have already been prepared at the centre which could “start operation at any time”, the secretary said.

However, he stressed that to date Macau did not need to raise the epidemic alert level to 6.

Meanwhile, Health Bureau director Lei Chin Ion said yesterday Macau did not yet receive the notification from the WHO that the first wave of the Influenza A (H1N1) outbreak has already passed the peak period.

According to Kiang Wu Hospital director Dr. Zhang Xuming, the hospital has prepared enough medical staff in case of an emergency influenza outbreak in the territory.

Dr. Zhang also said that the Kiang Wu Hospitals in Macau and Taipa can provide around 90 sickbeds to Influenza A (H1N1) patients, if the public hospital reaches the maximum capacity.

At present, the Kiang Wu Hospitals will first conduct a quick diagnostic test when a suspected Influenza A (H1N1) patient is received. If the result shows positive for the virus, the hospitals will notify the SS for further assessments and transfer the patient to the Conde de São Januário Hospital.

On the other hand, Chui Sai On in the afternoon met with representatives from 10 local medical associations, including the Macao Chinese Medicine Association, the Federation of the Medical Profession, the Western Medicine Practitioners Association and the Luso-Chinese Nursing Staff Association at the government headquarters.

During the one-hour meeting, the secretary introduced to the associations the government’s various influenza precautions and called for the industry’s cooperation and support.

Vice president of the Macao Federation of the Medical Profession, Kuan Su Kun, told the reporters after the meeting that local medical practitioners are committed to report to the SS and closely follow the health guidelines once a suspected Influenza A (H1N1) patient is received.

Kuan also said that Macau has sufficient Tamiflu in stock, as the SAR government has ordered “a large quantity of the drugs” from pharmaceutical factories when the virus started to spread to outside of Mexico and the US.

“Local residents are nowadays more aware of health knowledge after the SARS outbreak. They should keep a healthy lifestyle and maintain a hygienic living environment as a precaution,” he added.

At the same time, the Macau Jockey Club Public Clinic issued a statement, saying that it will “work closely with the Health Bureau on the preventive measures, and will continue to provide the best possible medical services at low cost for citizens and various organisations”.

According to the SS statistics, the Conde de São Januário Hospital yesterday treated 198 children and 74 adults for respiratory illness.

Macau did not report any “suspected” or “confirmed case” of Influenza A (H1N1) infection as of yesterday’s evening.


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