Covid-19 | Gov’t stresses two racial groups have low-risk amid alleged discrimination

Following the announcement of the high-frequency nucleic acid test (NAT), some shops have allegedly started banning customers of Vietnamese nationality, as raised yesterday in a press conference.
When questioned if these shops are violating any law by doing this, Tai Wa Hou, medical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital, reiterated about the groups having low risks.
Certain occupational and racial groups of individuals – identified as key groups by the Health Bureau (SSM) – have been ordered to take four NAT tests in eight days.
The new series of tests concerns workers in construction, laundry and security trades, as well as non-resident workers from Nepal and Vietnam.
“These groups of individuals are only key groups. It doesn’t imply that they have high risks or are suspected [to be infected],” Tai said. “They don’t even hold a yellow health code, meaning that they are eligible to take the bus.”
“Even I have to take the test every seven days [being a frontline medical staff, which is a key group],” Tai added.
No one from the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center was able to refer to any institutional means in order to stop the discrimination from occurring.
The neurosurgeon disclosed that the SSM had done a calculation on the number of concerned individuals from the high-frequency NAT key groups. There are about 22,000 individuals.
The government’s five regular sample collection stations will only accommodate 35,000 test-takers per day. The 22,000 individuals are required to take a test every two days for a period of eight days.

A total of 10 hotels and resorts will operate to support the high-frequency NAT between today and next Sunday, neurosurgeon Tai announced yesterday.
The 10 hotels and resorts are the Grand Lisboa, the Sands Macao, The Venetian Macao, the Wynn Macau, the Wynn Palace, the Broadway Macau, the StarWorld Hotel, the MGM Macau, the MGM Cotai and the Macau Studio City.

Certain entertainment venues, such as gyms, karaoke venues, and bars, have been suspended from operating for about a week. However, restaurants and casinos can remain open although mask wearing is literally impossible in the former establishment.
Public health doctor Leong Iek Hou, coordinator at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, recapped the government’s justification of striking a balance between disease control and economic maintenance.
“Not suspending restaurants is to ensure public needs are met,” she said. “Imagine if we ban restaurant operations or dine-in, the public will be faced with an extremely inconvenient scenario.”
She added that the government is not banning all economic activities, meaning that some members of the public need to work. Hence, they will need catering establishments for meals.
“Of course, if a restaurant gets packed with people chatting without [wearing] masks extensively, that will make an unsatisfactory condition,” Leong added.
Defending the operation of casinos, Leong said that all casino entrants are required to have their health codes inspected upon entry. “Only green code holders are allowed to get in,” she said, adding that casinos have strict environmental hygiene measures.

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