Lifting ban on overseas GP drivers is in ‘public interest’ according to medical director

The medical director of the public hospital believes that lifting the entry ban on foreign Grand Prix racers is crucial to the economic revival of the city. The director, Alvis Lo, said at yesterday’s Covid-19 press briefing that this meant lifting the ban was in the “public interest” and therefore qualified to be one of the exceptions to quarantine stipulated in an executive order.
Lo said that the Grand Prix is an historic and iconic activity in the city. “Provided that rigorous epidemic containment measures are observed, the risk is manageable,” he said. In order to enter Macau, apart from other prerequisites, foreigners will need to show proof of their negative Covid-19 test results.
At the same time, lawmaker Agnes Lam recently submitted an inquiry to request the government ease the restriction. She said the ban had caused, among others, a non-local husband to stay away from his wife and children, who are in Macau, as well as the husband of a seven-month-pregnant woman not being able to be by her side.
The health authority admitted that it has received several inquiries and requests for permission from local associations to organize National Day celebratory events, including cocktail, lunch or dinner receptions.
In line with its guidelines and requirements for participants at the National Day celebration next month, the health authority said that a Covid-19 nucleic acid test may be required for all attendees of receptions organized by local associations. However, the requirements may not be identical for all groups.
Leong Iek Hou from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention cited the Dragon Boat Races held in June as an example to hint that the dedicated guidelines might look similar.
She also gave an explanation as to why a test is required for participants at lunch or dinner receptions: many infection cases in nearby regions were recorded at meal gatherings or receptions. As a result, the health authority believes that if a reception is held for an extended duration, there will be a higher risk of the virus spreading.
For the previous Dragon Boat Races, as well as an upcoming event to be held on September 27, the Sports Bureau was ambiguous in terms of its health requirements, before it suddenly announced the requirement that all athletes must take the test. For the upcoming Dragon Boat Races, the Sports Bureau has not announced any plans to subsidize the tests.
Meanwhile, concerning the quota of Covid-19 nucleic acid tests, Lai Kai Seng, the deputy head of the private Kiang Wu Hospital, the only private specimen collection station among the four available, hinted that the hospital was attempting to expand its test quota.
The hospital management estimates the quota can be expanded from 1,000 tests per day to as many as 2,500 per day.
Lai added that the operation of specimen collection and testing at the private medical venue has been smooth. Only minor flaws, such as registrants wrongly entering their ID numbers, have been recorded.
Due to the overwhelming demand, registrants have to book their test at least two days prior to their preferred dates. In response to the situation, Lai said that the private entity has submitted an application to the Health Bureau for approval to expand the test quota. The application is being reviewed by the government now,
The medical doctor said that the hospital’s maximum capacity is 3,000 tests per day. For the time being, the private medical venue has no plan to provide Covid-19 test at its Taipa facility, which is located at the Light Rail Transit’s Pai Kok Station.

Categories Macau