Macao’s Covid-19 vaccination rate has only reached around 51 per cent, the lowest in “the whole of China”, according to Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng.
The chief executive has again urged residents to get inoculated in order to help Macao achieve herd immunity.
Ho said that despite the fact that those who have been inoculated against Covid-19 could still be infected with the novel coronavirus, they normally would not suffer a serious condition. “At least they are unlikely to be admitted to the intensive care unit,” Ho said.
Ho added that the best scenario would be for everyone to get vaccinated. Taking into account that certain groups of people are unable to get vaccinated, such as under-12s, those with health problems and pregnant women, Ho pointed out, Macao’s Covid-19 vaccination rate should reach at least 80 per cent.
Ho also said that without a high Covid-19 vaccination rate, Macao would not have any confidence to ask the central government to relax the current restrictions for mainlanders to visit Macao.
This would include the resumption of the electronic application process for mainlanders to obtain a travel visa to Macao, and permission to organise tour groups.
As a result, mainlanders have to go to police service points in person to file an application for a travel visa to Macao. With the electronic application process in place, which was implemented before the Covid-19 pandemic, mainlanders were able to apply for a travel visa to Macao in more convenient ways such as making their applications at self-service kiosks.
Ho said that the low Covid-19 vaccination rate in Macao “makes it difficult to ask the central government to ease its restrictions for tour groups to visit Macao”.
The chief executive said that without tourists visiting Macao, it would be almost impossible for the city to sustain its economic recovery.
“Without a high vaccination rate, it is difficult for the Macao government to ask the central government for the resumption of the electronic application process for a travel visa to Macao and the resumption of tour groups to Macao,” Ho said.
Ho also said that he was “embarrassed” whenever he was asked by mainland officials about Macao’s latest Covid-19 inoculation rate.
Ho said that one could not blame the six hotel security staff – all of them non-resident workers – who came down with Covid-19. He added that he doubted that any local was ready to work as a security guard in a hotel used for medical observation quarantine. He also said that if people were keen to blame anyone for what happened, he would “take the biggest blame.”