Addressing Wednesday’s press conference about Macao’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) Deputy Director Daniel Tang Yuk Wa announced that some 90 social service facilities of various kinds in the city will reopen in phases from next Wednesday.
Tang said that the social service facilities include family and community service centres, service centres for senior citizens, and youth outreach teams, involving some 1,000 staff members.
The city’s social service facilities – most of which are privately run – have been closed since the Chinese New Year holiday in late January in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. A small number of them resumed “limited” services in April. Since earlier this month, 19 social service facilities have gradually reopened, comprising six daycare centres for senior citizens, five rehabilitation centres for the intellectually disabled, as well as eight rehabilitation centres for the mentally ill and occupational rehabilitation centres for people with various forms of disabilities.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Tang said that after consulting with the Health Bureau (SSM) and listening to the opinions of representatives from the city’s social service sector, his bureau has decided to allow the social service facilities to gradually reopen from next Wednesday.
“Considering their different nature, characteristics and the different groups of users they serve, the various types of social service facilities will resume their operations in phases, with the aim of reducing crowds and ensuring social distancing and their effective operations,” Tang said.
Tang added that the users or their family members can contact their social service facilities to ask them about the facilities’ reopening schedules and other details concerning their resumption of services.
Tang said that his bureau was helping the social service facilities prepare for their reopening, such as providing them with the official guidelines on their resumption of services. Tang said that his bureau would also help the facilities train their staff and carry out drills in preparation for their reopening. Tang also said that all staff of the social service facilities will have to be tested for the novel coronavirus before their respective resumption of services.
Tang underlined that his bureau will pay close attention to the development of the COVID-19 epidemic in Macao and elsewhere and the situation following the reopening of the social service facilities, and make possible adjustments to his bureau’s measures concerning the opening of the city’s social service facilities.
No new cases for 77 days
Alvis Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde S. Januário Hospital Centre, pointed out during Wednesday’s press conference that Macao has not confirmed a new COVID-19 case for 77 consecutive days. All of Macao’s 45 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospital.