Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U has said that the government will “gradually” make use of the Macao Health Code mobile app’s contact tracing function mandatory once more residents have become familiar with using the function that records where they have visited in the city.
Ao Ieong made the remarks after attending a closed-door committee meeting in the Legislative Assembly.
The Health Bureau (SSM) launched the mobile app version of the Macao Health Code that contains a contact tracing function in November. The contact tracing function enables residents to record their whereabouts accurately, which will help health officials in their investigations in case the city is hit by new local Covid-19 cases.
Contact-tracing-function QR codes are currently available at all government premises and facilities – including public medical institutions and facilities, all social service facilities and public buses.
The SSM has repeatedly reaffirmed that for the time being the use of the Macao Health Code mobile app’s contact tracing function is voluntary, meaning that users can choose whether or not to use the contact tracing function – scanning the QR codes placed on the premises and venues they are visiting.
However, the bureau has said that it will not rule out the possibility of requiring all those entering certain premises and venues to use the contact tracing function in case Macao confirms new local Covid-19 cases.
Ao Ieong reaffirmed that the government aims to extend the use of the Macao Health Code mobile app’s contact tracing function to restaurants, eateries and various entertainment venues by the end of this month – with the aim of ensuring that the contact-tracing-function QR codes will be available before the Chinese New Year of the Tiger, which falls on 1 February.
However, Ao Ieong admitted that the number of residents using the contact tracing function when entering government premises and facilities is currently “not ideal” – just about 10,000 scans of contact-tracing-function QR codes per day. But she added that the number of residents using the function has been gradually increasing. She said that residents have been using the contact tracing function more often when entering public health facilities compared to other government facilities.
Ao Ieong said that the government will monitor residents’ usage of the contact tracing function, adding that the government will “gradually” make the use of the function mandatory after “everyone” becomes familiar with using it, The Macau Post Daily reported.