Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng warned yesterday that the government will prosecute citizens if they conceal information which is important to processing their diagnosis in cases related to novel coronavirus infections.
Ho was replying to a question from the media on whether Macau needs to amend or create any laws to prevent people from lying or concealing key information, such as their travel history.
“We don’t need to produce any laws, we have them already,” he said. “If [people] hide medical information, we have a penalty according to our law on the Prevention and Treatment of Infectious Diseases […] that can result in imprisonment of up to two years.”
“I hope we don’t need to take such measures as we don’t want to prosecute patients. But if it causes great problems in society, we must do that,” Ho affirmed.
Ho was referring to the patient diagnosed as the eighth case of Wuhan pneumonia in Macau who, according to authorities, was found to have concealed from the medical team that first attended her at Kiang Wu Hospital that she had traveled to the mainland for a medical appointment.
According to the Chief Executive, the 64-year-old Macau woman caused a potentially serious situation which resulted in the necessary isolation of around 20 medical staff at Kiang Wu Hospital, and was also responsible for infecting a ninth person with the coronavirus in Macau.
According to the details disclosed, the eighth case went to China for a surgery appointment and did not protect herself. When she first started noticing symptoms, she went to Kiang Wu Hospital and did not immediately disclose the information.
“The ninth [case] was then contaminated because she was visiting the house of the eighth case,” said Ho.
“Patients cannot conceal the information because medical staff need to protect themselves too,” added the official, making a public appeal to all not to hide information.