Some Macau local residents have expressed anger and disagreement over the local government’s recent decision to bring home Macau residents that have been hitherto stuck in Hubei Province.
Earlier this week, the local government announced the decision. According to the plan, the Macau government will arrange a chartered flight on Saturday to bring home residents in Hubei.
Health Bureau Director Lei Chin Ion has made it clear that the risks of spreading Covid-19 in Macau due to this charter flight will have to be borne by all members of the local community.
However, some members of Macau’s community have expressed anger and disapproval regarding the chartered flight.
On a Facebook post reporting on the decision to arrange the chartered flight, some Macau netizens condemned the request of their fellow SAR residents still trapped in Hubei Province.
“I strongly oppose. It is unfair for the “real Macau people” who have been home for months. It is even more unfair to the paramedics who will go back to pick them up,” one user wrote.
Another Facebook user endorsed the local government’s care for Hubei’s Macau residents, but still believes that it would be better if those Macau residents in Hubei stayed in Hubei in order to avoid the risk of virus transmission onboard the aircraft.
Many other users worry that once these residents return, they might spread the virus locally.
Others doubted the “authenticity” of some of these Macau residents, believing that they are in fact mainland investors who have a Macau identification card but live in mainland China.
Some netizens also directed their anger toward Portuguese-language journalists for the arrangement of the extraction. Online comments accuse Portuguese-speaking journalists of unrelenting questioning on matters related to Hubei’s Macau residents, which put pressure on the government.
There were also comments condemning the local government for not having consulted the opinions of all members of Macau before arranging the flight.
Lawmaker Au Kam San told the Times yesterday that Macau is obliged to “rescue” these local residents if they are willing to return to Macau. The Times reported yesterday that 15 of 65 Macau residents confirmed to be in Hubei Province had indicated to the Macau authorities that they did not wish to come back to the SAR.
Nevertheless, Au thinks that the local government should provide further explanation on the decision. In particular he raised concerns about the change in opinion of the local government in the past 10 days.
According to Au, senior government officials including SSM director Lei Chin Ion and Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao Ieong U, had been opposed to the operation to repatriate the Macau residents only 10 days ago.
“At least there needs to be a consensus in the society,” said Au. “Now, it is obvious that there is still some controversy, and I believe there is not a consensus.”