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Mobile app users can scan contact-tracing-function QR codes by month’s end

Residents encouraged to take up new, slicker mobile app; health chief ponders how to get more senior citizens vaccinated.

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Residents encouraged to take up new, slicker mobile app; health chief ponders how to get more senior citizens vaccinated.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:41 am

Macao Health Code mobile app users will be able to scan newly placed contact-tracing-function QR codes at selected government premises by the end of this month. 

Health Bureau (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou said the aim is to encourage residents who are still using the website version of the Macao Health Code to switch to its mobile app.

The SSM rolled out the mobile app version of the Macao Health Code that contains a contact tracing function last Thursday.

The new contact tracing function allows residents to record their whereabouts accurately, which will help health official investigations in case the city is hit by local Covid-19 cases. 

During the trial-run of the Macao Health Code mobile app, the new contact tracing function QR codes are only being used at the Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, public health centres and health stations, and other SSM facilities. 

Macao Health Code app

In addition, the contact tracing function is being used at the Macao Food Festival, which will end early next month, and was used at last weekend’s Macau Grand Prix.

The SSM said last week that after the trial-run period, the use of the contact tracing function will be extended to a string of premises in the city.

The website version of the Macao Health Code remains operational, which means that smartphone users can choose to 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 in the premises they are visiting. However, the bureau said that it will not rule out the possibility of requiring all those entering certain premises to use the contact tracing function if 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.

Leong said that as of Wednesday, 53,079 smartphone users had downloaded the Macao Health Code mobile app since its launch. Leong said that by Thursday, the mobile app version had been generated 159,255 times, whereas the website version had been generated 2.23 million times. 

Leong said the statistics show that residents who have downloaded the Macao Health Code mobile app are “willing” to generate their health code on the app version. Leong also underlined that the health code mobile app has been running smoothly since its launch, pledging that the bureau will keep collecting users’ suggestions with the aim of making improvements.

Leong said that the statistics indicate that around eight per cent of Macao Health Code users have switched to the mobile app version since its launch a week ago, which she said was “a good achievement”.

Leong urged residents to download and use the Macao Health Code mobile app, adding that she is also using the app version and personally thinks that it is more convenient than the website version. The operation of the app version is also more stable than the website version, she said.

Leong said that the government’s various public entities aim to make the contact-tracing-function QR codes available by the end of this month.

In related news, Leong said that the SSM is studying how to boost Macao’s Covid-19 vaccination rate among senior citizens, which she said is much lower than elsewhere. 

Leong said that while the city’s Covid-19 inoculation rate is high among those aged between 20 and 59, the jab rate among senior citizens is still very low.

Leong said that the vaccination rate among those aged between 20 and 49 has reached over 90 per cent, while the jab rate among those aged between 50 and 59 has reached nearly 80 per cent.

Leong said that while the vaccination rate among senior citizens aged between 60 and 69 stands at over 50 per cent, the jab rate among those aged between 70 and 79 only stands at just over 30 per cent, and the inoculation rate among those aged 80 or over stands at around merely 12 per cent.

Consequently, Leong said, Macao’s Covid-19 vaccination rate among young and middle-aged people is high when compared globally, but the city’s jab rate among senior citizens is very low. 

Leong noted that senior citizens’ Covid-19 vaccination rate in Portugal stands at over 90 per cent, and their jab rates in Australia and some Southeast Asian countries are also very high, reported The Macau Post Daily.

 

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 4:41 am

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