Government studying possible community-based COVID-19 control measures

The government has been studying details on how to implement the mainland-style community-based COVID-19 control measures in Macao – in case it confirms new local COVID-19 cases.

The government has been studying details on how to implement the mainland-style community-based COVID-19 control measures in Macao – in case it confirms new local COVID-19 cases, said Health Bureau’s (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou on Monday. She added that the Health Bureau is collecting opinions from various government entities about the possible issues that might occur due to its implementation.

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Elsie Ao Ieong U told reporters earlier this month that the Macao government is studying the feasibility of the possible implementation of community-based COVID-19 prevention and control measures in Macao – in case it confirms new local COVID-19 cases – in references to the mainland. The policy secretary pointed out that Macao is a small city so that if the local government decides that the mainland-style community-based COVID-19 control measures would be adopted locally, it would have to divide areas affected by COVID-19 in a “very accurate” way. She said that in case Macao confirms new local COVID-19 cases, the smaller the size of the affected area, the fewer residents would be affected by the government’s strict COVID-19 community-based measures.

According to mainland media reports, if residents from a particular community have been newly confirmed as COVID-19 patients, strict COVID-19 measures will be imposed on the community and all its residents. A serious epidemic situation will result in the implementation of closed-off management of the community.

Leong said that the accurate implementation of community-based COVID-19 control measures would be among Macao’s major COVID-19 prevention work in the longer term. Leong warned that due to the still serious pandemic Macao is not facing a “zero risk” situation of confirming new COVID-19 cases.

Leong said that in this context, in case Macao confirms a number of new local COVID-19 cases the local government would have to carry out its COVID-19 control work in a way that it could bring the COVID-19 risk under control while ensuring that the normal movement of people between Macao and elsewhere, the mainland in particular, would not be affected.

Leong said that the Health Bureau was studying how to divide COVID-19 affected areas for the implementation of community-based COVID-19 control measures in Macao. Leong said that the larger the size of the affected area, the more residents would be affected by the government’s strict COVID-19 community-based measures, but if the size of the affected area is too small, it would not be enough to bring the COVID-19 risk under control. Leong said that therefore the Macao government was referencing the various kinds of implementation of community-based COVID-19 control measures in different areas in the mainland.

Wedding banquets should heed COVID-19 guidelines

Leong also urged those holding private events such as wedding banquets and birthday parties to also follow COVID-19 prevention measures stated in the government’s guidelines for the city’s community associations organising receptions and banquets, which took effect on Monday, despite the fact that such events are not covered by the guidelines.

Leong said that the government has decided not to officially require private events to follow its guidelines for community associations after considering that in reality normally large events involving many attendees in Macao are primarily organised by community associations and the government.

The government has formulated its guidelines on the management of group catering events, which were announced last week, with the aim of reducing the possible risk of the novel coronavirus spreading during the events, after considering that the city’s various community associations will organise receptions or banquets to celebrate the upcoming National Day on 1 October.

According to the guidelines regulating the city’s community associations, all those attending an indoor event with over 400 guests during which they cannot wear a facemask for over one hour – i.e. when having their meal – are required to be tested for COVID-19 before attending the event.

According to the guidelines announced last week, the organisers have to perform temperature checks on all those entering the venue and request them to present their Macao Health Code. The organisers should also refuse admission to anyone with a fever or any respiratory symptoms. According to the guidelines, all guests at the venue are required to wear a facemask all the time when meals are not served and stick to social distancing. They can only take off their facemasks when eating.

Leong also said during Monday’s press conference that the government believes that community associations would not choose to organise events in the name of private events so as to avoid having to follow its guidelines on group catering events because they would have to bear the consequences if some guests attending the events are infected with the novel coronavirus disease. Leong said that it was not difficult for the guests to present a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate as it was “very convenient” for residents to undergo a COVID-19 test.

Meanwhile, Leong also said that the Macao government believes that visitors from the mainland will comply with Macao’s COVID-19 prevention measures such as always wearing a facemask when out and about; particularly when they see that local residents are always wearing a facemask regardless of being indoors or outdoors.

The issuing of Individual Visit Scheme (IVS) tour permits for all mainlanders to travel to Macao will resume tomorrow.

 

(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
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