Addressing Wednesday’s daily press conference about Macau’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Health Bureau’s (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou said the government “provisionally” plans that the still being developed local version of the mainland’s health code system – which would make it possible for local residents and non-resident workers to be allowed to commute between Macau and Zhuhai again – will become an extension of the Macau Health Bureau’s (SSM) digital health declaration system.
Alvis Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde de S. Januário Hospital Centre, underlined that the local health code system is still being developed so that, for the time being, no further details about the system could be announced.
Currently, all people must present a self-filled health declaration e-form developed by the Health Bureau when entering public administration premises, casinos and other designated places.
Addressing Monday’s post-policy address press conference, Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said that the current entry restriction and quarantine measures between Macau and Guangdong could only be gradually lifted in the near future if Macau sets up its own health code system that would be compatible with the mainland’s health code system.
Since February 20, non-resident workers who have been in the mainland within 14 days prior to their intended entry into Macau have to go into quarantine and medical observation for 14 days at a facility in Zhuhai arranged by the health authorities there, and then obtain a health certificate issued by the Zhuhai health authorities confirming that they have not been infected with the novel coronavirus disease, before they are allowed to enter Macau.
All travellers arriving in Guangdong from overseas as well as Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan have had to undergo 14 days of “concentrated” quarantine and nucleic acid testing (NAT) there since March 27.
According to Xinhua, the mainland’s health code system is a mobile app that generates a coloured QR health code. A red code indicates that the holder is a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patient, a yellow one indicates a close contact, while a green one means that the holder has no contact with any case of the highly infectious disease.
During Tuesday’s Q&A session in the legislature’s hemicycle, Ho noted that the mainland’s health code system has a “strong” travel tracking system of its holders, and such a system could not be used in Macau due to its Personal Data Protection Law.
Ho said that therefore the local government was developing a local version of the health code system, adding he expected both sides – the mainland and Macau authorities – to reach an agreement in the near future on the mutual recognition of their health code systems, in which case non-resident workers who live in Zhuhai could be allowed to commute between Macau and Zhuhai again. Ho also said that the development of the health code system’s local version and its compatibility with the mainland version “is no simple task”.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Leong said that the local government’s “provisional” idea for the Macau version of the mainland’s health code system was that it would be an extension of her bureau’s existing digital health declaration system. Leong said that one of the features of the Macau version of the health code system would be that the display of the holder’s health status would be more conspicuous than the current health declaration, possibly by using different colours to show the holder’s health status with reference to the mainland version.
2 more COVID-19 patients discharged
Meanwhile, Lo announced that two COVID-19 patients were discharged from the public hospital on Wednesday, taking the number of those no longer requiring hospitalisation to 26 among Macau’s total of 45 COVID-19 cases.
According to Lo, the two discharged patients comprise a 37-year-old female non-resident worker from the Philippines who returned from Manila via Hong Kong last month and a 44-year-old local man who returned from the United Kingdom via Hong Kong last month.
Both have been transferred to the Health Bureau’s Public Health Clinical Centre in Coloane for 14 days of recovery period isolation.
Following Tuesday’s discharge of the two patients, a total of 19 COVID-19 patients remained hospitalised.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)
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