Addressing Friday’s daily press conference about Macau’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, Ma Chio Hong, who heads the Operations and Communications Division of the Public Security Police (PSP), said that a local woman had been transferred to the Public Prosecution Office (MP) for follow-up investigation after she interrupted the operation of the local government’s nucleic acid testing (NAT) station at the Taipa Ferry Terminal in Pac On earlier that day by shouting and hitting the testing equipment there as she was “dissatisfied with the appointment arrangement”.
The government’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre first announced the case in a statement on Friday afternoon, which said that the woman was shouting, demanding that the government change the testing arrangement, and hitting testing equipment at the Pac On ferry terminal testing station, as she was “dissatisfied with the appointment arrangement”. The statement said that the incident had “hindered” staff from collecting other people’s nucleic acid samples at the testing station. The statement said that the Health Bureau (SSM) decided to call the police as the incident “seriously affected the whole sampling and testing process” at the station.
In the statement, the centre condemned the woman’s behaviour. The statement said that any wilful interruption will adversely affect the whole sampling and testing process, due to the large number of nucleic acid tests carried out every day at the Pac On ferry terminal testing station, the “intensive” sampling process, and the “considerable” difficulty involved in crowd management.
The statement said that, consequently, the centre was urging people who undergo their nucleic acid tests at the station to act in an orderly way and obey staff instructions, because only then can the station run “smoothly” and all those undergoing their tests be provided with “better services”.
During Friday’s press conference, Ma said that customs officers arrived at the scene where they saw the woman shouting and hitting the Health Bureau’s testing equipment, which caused the operation of the testing station to be temporarily suspended. Consequently, the customs officers took her in for questioning and later transferred her to the Public Prosecution Office for follow-up questioning.
Alvis Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde S. Januário Hospital Centre, said that the incident was an isolated case, and he believes that most residents were willing to comply with regulations when undergoing their nucleic acid tests at the station. Lo said that, on average, some 1,000 people had undergone tests at the station a day since the testing programme was launched on May 7. Lo also said that the woman interrupted the sampling process for 10 minutes.
Lo also said that if a person arrives at the testing station on time in accordance with their appointment, they can complete the whole sampling process in five minutes.
The local government’s nucleic acid testing programme is open to local Macau-Zhuhai cross-border commuters, as well as certain groups of mainland non-resident workers and mainland visitors. People have to make an appointment first to undergo their tests at the testing post.
Man ‘flees’ testing station
Meanwhile, Lei Tak Fai, who heads the Public Relations Division of the Public Security Police, said during Saturday’s daily press conference about Macau’s COVID-19 situation that a male visitor from the mainland who fled the Pac On ferry terminal testing post on Friday had been transferred to the Public Prosecution Office for possible charges.
According to Lei, the Health Bureau informed the police on Friday that the man failed to follow staff instructions for undergoing a nucleic acid test earlier that day and left the testing post. The visitor was caught shortly after fleeing the testing post and then taken back for a test, which tested negative for the novel coronavirus.
(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)