Addressing Wednesday’s press conference about Macao’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, Alvis Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde S. Januário Hospital Centre, said that the governments of Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao have not changed their aim of restoring travel among the three regions, but the Macao government can only announce the gradual relaxation of the current border entry curbs and quarantine measures among the three regions after the three governments have finally come up with “practicable” measures that can get the relaxation off the ground without increasing the COVID-19 risk in the three regions.
When asked by the media whether it would be feasible to lift the current border entry curbs and quarantine measures between Macao and Guangdong first – before the relaxation of entry curbs between the two regions and Hong Kong – as the COVID-19 situation in Macao and Guangdong is more stable than the one Hong Kong, Lo pointed out that the Macao government has constantly been discussing the possible gradual relaxation of the current border entry curbs and quarantine measures among the three regions with its counterparts in Hong Kong and Guangdong, as well as the adjacent city of Zhuhai, which belongs to Guangdong.
Lo underlined that the Macao government has been taking three main principles into consideration during its ongoing discussions on the matter with Guangdong and Hong Kong, namely 1) whether the respective COVID-19 situations in Guangdong and Hong Kong are similar to the epidemic situation in Macau; 2) setting up certain criteria under which certain groups of people are allowed to cross the borders and are exempted from quarantine; and 3) the implementation of “complementary” measures for the relaxation of the entry curbs, such as the enhanced capability to carry out nucleic acid tests (NATs) for those travelling among the three regions and the mutual recognition of the respective health code systems of the three regions.
Hong Kong still doesn’t have its own health code
The “Macau Health Code” and the Guangdong version of the mainland’s health code system have been mutually recognised. Hong Kong is yet to develop its own health code system.
In reply to the question, Lo said that during the ongoing discussions, the Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macao governments have not restricted themselves to the possible scenario in which the current border entry curbs and quarantine measures among the three regions are to be lifted simultaneously, adding that “there will be all kinds of possibilities”.
Lo also pointed out that Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng had a meeting with the secretary of the Guangdong provincial committee of the Community Party of China (CPC), Li Xi, and Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui on Tuesday when they discussed the possible gradual relaxation of the current border entry curbs and quarantine measures between Macao and Guangdong.
Lo also said that the Guangdong and Macao governments have still to come up with specific measures that will enable the gradual lifting of the current entry restriction and quarantine measures between the two regions. Lo underlined that the Macao government can only announce the gradual relaxation of the entry curbs between Macao and Guangdong after the two governments have finally come up with “feasible” measures.
56 days no new case
Meanwhile, Lo also pointed out that Macao has not confirmed a new COVID-19 case for 56 consecutive days. All of Macao’s 45 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospital.
Lo noted that three discharged patients are still undergoing their 14 days of recovery period isolation at the Health Bureau’s Public Health Clinical Centre in Coloane.
‘Cherish the achievement’
Meanwhile, Lei Tak Fai, who heads the Public Relations Division of the Public Security Police (PSP), urged residents to understand the local government’s need to maintain its strict border entry curbs in order to ensure that no new COVID-19 cases emerge in Macao. Lei told Wednesday’s press conference that while the local government understands local residents’ need to cross the Macao-Zhuhai border, he urged them to “cherish the achievement” that Macao has not confirmed a new COVID-19 case for “many” days.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
PHOTO © Government Information Bureau (GCS)