Skip to content
Menu

Contact-tracing QR codes spread further around Macao

New function kicks off at social services facilities on Monday, and will be installed at eateries, medical institutions and entertainment venues by Chinese New Year.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

New function kicks off at social services facilities on Monday, and will be installed at eateries, medical institutions and entertainment venues by Chinese New Year.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:46 am

Contact-tracing-function QR codes will become available at all social service facilities from next Monday, so Macao Health Code mobile app users can record their whereabouts on their smartphone.

Leong Iek Hou, the Health Bureau’s (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator, said that the government expects to place the QR codes at all medical institutions and facilities, restaurants and eateries, and various entertainment venues in the city by the start of Chinese New Year on 1 February.

The SSM rolled out the mobile app version of the Macao Health Code containing a contact tracing function last month.

The new function enables residents to record their whereabouts accurately, which would help health officials in their investigations in case the city is hit by new local Covid-19 cases.

Initially, after the mobile app was launched, the QR codes were only available at the Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, public health centres and health stations and other SSM facilities. The contact tracing function was extended to all government premises early this month, and extended to public buses last week.

Leong pledged that the government will gradually extend the contact tracing function within the city.

Leong also reported that so far 91,643 smartphone users had downloaded the Macao Health Code mobile app. Leong reaffirmed that the app has been running smoothly, pledging that the SSM will keep gathering users’ opinions and suggestions with the aim of making improvements.

The website version of the Macao Health Code remains operational, so smartphone users can continue using the website version or switch to the mobile app version, when generating their health code. However, the new contact tracing function is only available on the mobile app version, as mobile web browsers are unable to scan a QR code.

The SSM has underlined that while using the mobile app version, Macao Health Code 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 said last month 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.

The SSM has also reaffirmed that when using the contact tracing function, users’ travel history records will only be stored on their smartphones after they scan the QR codes, and will not be uploaded onto the bureau’s database, as the function merely aims to help them record their whereabouts.

In related news, Leong said that the latest research studies worldwide have indicated that the Omicron variant is more contagious than other Covid-19 variants including Delta. However, Leong said, there is still insufficient data showing Omicron’s incubation period and its level of symptoms compared to other novel coronavirus variants.

Leong said the latest data has indicated that the Omicron variant, like all other variants, mainly spreads from an infected person’s mouth or nose in respiratory droplets, because of which, she said, the typical existing Covid-19 personal protection measures, such as wearing a facemask and social distancing, can effectively prevent Omicron infection.

The World Health Organization said earlier this month that the Omicron variant appeared to spread faster than the Delta variant, making vaccines less effective but causing less severe symptoms, while stressing that the data remains patchy.

Leong also said that the latest research indicated that the administration of a third Covid-19 vaccine dose as a booster jab is able to significantly and quickly increase the recipient’s antibody levels, because of which, she said, the third dose will significantly raise the person’s immunity to prevent Omicron infection.

Leong added that Macao would not reduce the cost of nucleic acid testing from MOP 70 due to “higher human resources costs and other administrative costs compared to the mainland” pointing out that it had already been reduced from its original price of MOP 180, The Macau Post Daily reported.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:46 am

Send this to a friend