SSM reaffirms position on zero-Covid target

Zero-Covid policy is the “best option for Macau and should be continued,” pulmonologist Alvis Lo, director of the Health Bureau (SSM), said yesterday on a TDM radio show.

Elaborating on his message, the medical doctor added that the stratagem had been implemented following the same policy in mainland China. The country has been following the zero-Covid policy since the early phase of the Covid-19 pandemic through various tactics, with the current strategy being a dynamic zero-Covid policy.

“There is no room for autonomic relaxation,” the medical doctor added.

In fact, the SSM has several times explained that in order to retain relative border normality with mainland China, the city has to maintain the policy.

World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus spoke against the policy on Tuesday for the first time, saying he had been discussing with Chinese experts the need for a different approach in light of new knowledge about the virus.

“When we talk about the ‘zero-Covid,’ we don’t think that it’s sustainable, considering the behavior of the virus now and what we anticipate in the future,” Tedros said, as cited in a report issued by the Associated Press.

In response, China yesterday defended sticking to its strict zero-Covid approach, calling critical remarks from the head of the WHO “irresponsible.”

Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a daily briefing yesterday, “We hope that relevant people can view China’s policy of epidemic prevention and control objectively and rationally, get more knowledge about the facts and refrain from making irresponsible remarks.”

Fatality response plan

Discussing possible deaths from Covid-19, Lo also disclosed that discussions had been held locally and across the border to prepare response tactics should Covid-19 result in fatalities in the city.

Due to the lack of consensus following debates years ago on the construction of a crematorium in Taipa, the city currently has no such facility. Meanwhile, the law forbids the exportation of bodies with deaths caused by infectious diseases.

The head of the health agency disclosed that the Municipal Affairs Bureau (IAM) would remain in discussion with their Mainland counterparts in search of a solution to this issue. He added that the SSM had already coordinated temporary storage of bodies with funeral homes and other organizations capable of handling freezing processes.

Lo assured the audience of the radio show that the health agency would continuously refine contingencies on outbreak-response, such as personnel training, resource allocation and cross-departmental drills.

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