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Foreign domestic helpers barred from Macao until elderly and kids’ jab rates hit 90%

Health chief also concerned about availability of quarantine hotel rooms and what to do if many new arrivals test positive for Covid-19.

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Health chief also concerned about availability of quarantine hotel rooms and what to do if many new arrivals test positive for Covid-19.

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PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:44 am

Foreign nationals without a local ID card who have been hired as domestic helpers will only be allowed to enter Macao again once the vaccination rate for children and senior citizens has reached at least 90 per cent.

Leong Iek Hou, who heads the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Division of the Health Bureau, said that one of the major duties of foreign domestic helpers in Macao is to look after senior citizens and children, and noted that the vaccination rate amongst those specific groups is still relatively low.

Leong said that most foreign domestic helpers in Macao come from countries that are seriously affected by Covid-19, such as the Philippines and Vietnam. Consequently, Leong said, Macao could only allow foreign domestic helpers to enter Macao again after the city’s Covid-19 inoculation rates amongst seniors and children have reached a “sufficiently high” level.

Leong underlined that while Macao’s Covid-19 vaccination rate among the population in general, which stood at 683,200 at the end of last year, is high, exceeding 85 per cent, the respective jab rates amongst senior citizens and children are still not high enough. Macao’s Covid-19 vaccination rate among the population reached 86.05 per cent at 4 pm yesterday, according to the latest statistics.

The government reported the city’s latest Covid-19 vaccination rates among over-60s and children aged between 3 and 11 on Tuesday last week, when they had reached around 68 per cent and 52.2 per cent respectively.

“Only after the jab rates among these two groups have increased to a higher level, could we be reassured that seniors and children in Macao would not be infected with Covid-19 or suffer a serious condition [from the novel coronavirus disease] in case the foreign domestic helpers who have come to Macao to look after them are carrying the virus,” Leong said.

Asked for precise jab rates, Leong replied that “there are no standards across the world about the exact number of the vaccination rate that can be considered high enough, but we certainly know that the higher the vaccination rate, the higher the number of people can be protected.

“The vaccination rate needs to reach at least 90 per cent to be considered high.” 

In addition, Leong said, the local government would also need to assess the possibility of allowing foreign domestic helpers to enter Macao again by taking into account whether there would be sufficient quarantine hotel guestrooms, and whether its medical facilities can tackle a situation in case many of the foreign domestic helpers who come to Macao test positive for Covid-19.

In related news, Leong noted that Macao has not reported a new local Covid-19 case for 180 consecutive days after the detection of 12 cases “connected to an imported case” between late September and early October last year. The 12 cases involved a cluster of quarantine hotel security staff and a cluster of renovation workers, The Macau Post Daily reported.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:44 am

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