Classes have been suspended for all cross-border students and teachers enrolled in local schools or higher education institutions, starting today.
Wong Ka Ki, who heads the Non-Tertiary Education Department of the Education and Youth Development Bureau (DSEDJ), said the suspension aimed to reduce the potential Covid-19 risk to Macao amid the current Omicron wave in Zhuhai.
Wong said cross-border students and teachers can only return to Macao for classes after Chinese New Year (CNY).
The validity of the negative nucleic acid test (NAT) result for those entering Macao from Zhuhai has been shortened to just 24 hours, which took effect on Sunday, in the wake of the current Covid-19 outbreak in the neighbouring city, which started last week.
As of last night, Zhuhai had reported a total of 29 Covid-19 positive cases, including three asymptomatic cases, during its current Omicron wave.
Thousands of students and teachers enrolled in schools or higher education institutions in Macao live in Zhuhai or Zhongshan.
Since the first detection of new Covid-19 positive cases on Friday last week, the Macao government has suspended classes for cross-border students and teachers who live in areas and neighbourhoods affected by Covid-19 in Zhuhai or Zhongshan. However, cross-border students and teachers living in other areas not affected by Covid-19 in Zhuhai or Zhongshan had been allowed to attend to school – before today, but, like all other travellers, they had had to present an NAT certificate confirming a negative Covid-19 result valid for 24 hours when crossing the Macao-Zhuhai border.
Wong noted that more neighbourhoods in Zhuhai have become subject to its government’s Covid-19 control and restriction measures. With the aim of fully complying with Covid-19 measures taken by both Zhuhai and Macao governments, Wong said, his bureau has concluded that “further reducing travel by students and teachers between the two cities will be favourable to reducing the Covid-19 risk to Macao”, after consulting the Macao Health Bureau (SSM).
Wong also said that midterm final examinations will be completed within this week in around 80 per cent of local schools so they will be able to start their CNY holiday earlier than initially scheduled. As a result, Wong said, his bureau has concluded that class suspensions for all cross-border students would not cause any major impact on the education sector.
Wong said that the remaining 20 per cent of local schools where midterm examinations are still ongoing can decide whether to continue their exams next week, or to start their CNY holiday earlier and therefore postpone their exams.
Wong also noted that currently local higher education institutions are not holding their midterm examinations, and they will start their CNY holiday early next week, The Macau Post Daily reported.