The guidelines on wearing masks, issued by the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center, do not stipulate which types of mask are mandatory for places that require their use, Dr Alvis Lo, medical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital said yesterday.
He was questioned by the Times as to the authority’s communications with other government entities with regards to mask wearing.
At first, he declined to comment on the matter because he was “not familiar with the specific case and situation and did not have sufficient information to make comments.”
Yesterday, the Court of First Instance’s security post and reception office requested a Macau Daily Times journalist going there to report on a court hearing to replace his reusable facemask with a disposable surgical one.
On the sidelines on the press conference, the medical doctor provided more information on the matter.
He first explained that the Health Bureau tries to be extremely cautious when making comments on other bureaus or entities. “For example, we were also very careful when we comment on the condition in other places,” Lo stressed. “That’s why, without having sufficient information on particular cases, we tend not to make comments.”
Facemasks are mandatory in many places, such as on public buses and in government offices. The health authority has issued guidelines on the requirement, however Lo explained that “guidelines differ from laws” and that different entities will interpret them differently.
The respiratory physician added that entities have the discretion to decide what types of mask are suitable for their venues. “Taking this case for example, the Court has the right to decide if it will accept reusable masks,” Lo explained.
His colleague, Dr Leong Iek Hou, coordinator at the local Center for Disease Control and Prevention, tried to determine if there was anything printed on the reusable mask that prompted the concerns of the judicial body.
However, this was not the case, for the facemask was dark blue in color without any graphics or writing printed on it.
Meanwhile, when questioned on whether there was any news on easing border restrictions between the two Special Administrative Regions, Lo stressed that the local government has been in communication with its Hong Kong counterpart on the matter and would disclose any updates in a timely manner.
Not only is it in communications with Hong Kong, the local government is also discussing a further easing of restrictions with Guangdong, Macau’s single biggest visitor source market.
“Every time we had good news in this aspect, we made immediate announcements to the public,” Lo recalled. “The same applies to the negotiation with Hong Kong. Once we have specific details, we will make announcements accordingly.”
He stressed that it is not necessary to wait until all parties relax their restrictions to make announcements, hinting that when good news occurs, announcements will be made.
Drivers on the bridge beware
The Public Security Police Force (PSP) has confirmed that anyone driving their own cars to Macau via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge will be required to park at the paid public parking lot near the border checkpoint until they finish their 14-day quarantine at a designated hotel. The statement comes after Macau Daily Times published an account yesterday of a resident who was horrified to discover a nearly 6,000 pataca parking bill after completing his mandatory quarantine. “There was nothing I could do besides pay,” he told the Times. The resident also said he wanted his case to serve as a warning to others attempting to enter Macau by the same means.