A new guideline issued by the Health Bureau (SSM) requires the majority of workers in the city to either get a Covid-19 vaccine or obtain a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test result at least every seven days.
The new requirement was announced yesterday at the regular health press conference by Dr Tai Wai Hou, medical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital.
According to the new rule, “in order to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in workplaces, all workers have the responsibility to get vaccinated.” However, since the arrival of Covid-19 vaccines, the government has been reiterating that vaccination is voluntary.
The guideline therefore states that “workers who need to have contact with [others] or who work in an enclosed venue with other individuals, which as a result will make them prone to contracting the virus and then spreading [it] to others, should be tested for the virus at least every seven days if they have not yet received the vaccine.”
Given the vagueness of the guideline, Tai was questioned whether the guideline covers the majority of, if not all, workers in the city.
Tai did not directly answer the question, but repeated the text of the guideline.
When questioned again by another journalist about which occupations or workers are covered by the guideline, Tai turned to discussing the nature and the original intention of the guideline.
The guideline states that all public and private entities should implement the rule, but no enforcement stipulations are mentioned.
When questioned on the matter, Tai passed the buck to those employing staff, saying that employers are responsible for implementing the requirement.
Previous similar guidelines issued by the SSM suggest that failures in compliance may result in alleged violations of the Contagious Disease Prevention and Control Law.
Therefore, Tai recapped previous statements on possible breaches. He said that if employers fail to implement the guideline and cause an outbreak, they may be deemed to be violating the law.
Loosening of restrictions
The SSM also announced yesterday that it would loosen the measures on excursions and grouped activities hosted or held by public entities and public-autonomous entities.
Although the confinement is being loosened, tight requirements will still be in place. For example, the SSM requires participants of local excursions to complete inoculations 14 days prior to the departure of the excursion.
Following the announcement of loosening the restrictions, the Macao Government Tourism Office’s (MGTO) public relation official, Lao Fong Chi, announced yesterday that the local tour scheme, “Stay, Dine and See Macao,” will resume September 18.
During September to December, the local tour scheme will see a new phase of operations, boasting 13 updated itineraries.
The new phase will not only see tours operating on weekends and public holidays, but will also see operations on Mondays to Fridays, “so that residents will have greater chance to participate in the tours,” Lao explained.