Zero-Covid Policy

CE: Macau can’t afford to lose mainland link

Macau needs to continue adhering to the national zero-Covid strategy otherwise it will risk losing support from the mainland and jeopardize established border agreements, the Chief Executive (CE) Ho Iat Seng said yesterday in response to a media inquiry during a government special press conference.

“If we don’t keep this ‘zero case’ policy, I don’t know if we going to be able to keep our borders open to the mainland and this will surely have a great impact on Macau,” the CE said. He added that if the zero-Covid policy is not maintained, “we won’t have the borders open, we won’t have tourists coming and we cannot revitalize the economy. We must find a balance between the economy and society. We need to see what the best option is for Macau because if we abandon the Chinese market, in which market can we find support for the economy? Without the Chinese market, I don’t know how we can survive.”

Ho’s response came after he was asked to comment on the views of those in the population who are calling for an abandonment of the zero-Covid policy and, instead, adoption of a policy of living with Covid-19, seen in many countries in Europe and the Americas.

At the same time, Ho rejected the idea of a citywide lockdown, noting that there are reasons to believe that the current situation will not be prolonged.

“We are hopeful that we will be able to contain the outbreak effectively so, for now, we will not entertain the possibility of enforcing a citywide lockdown,” the CE said. He explained that a team of specialists, including China’s National Health Commission, is working on a model to help predict the evolution of the outbreak.

“This new [sixth] round of mass testing for the whole population will provide important data for this team of experts so they can produce a pandemic evolution model that will help us to understand how long we need to enforce these measures,” Ho said. added, “I think that if we can comply with these measures of prevention and control, this situation will not last long.”

The measures announced yesterday, and published in an executive order, shut down all entertainment, sport and leisure venues from 5 p.m. with the aim of stopping the outbreak in the community.

The CE also mandated the suspension of dining in for all restaurants and bars as these venues, where patrons cannot wear face masks, are higher risk.

As for the closure of casinos, Ho said that, for the time being, there are no reasons to enforce such an “extreme” measure that would have an immediate negative effect on local workers’ “bread winning.”

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