The good thing about a small town like Macau is that it’s easier to place it under a “protective bubble.” This is something that worked during SARS, in which the city did not count any fatalities, and even more so now with Covid-19.
From the Publisher’s Desk | Macau Business March 2020
The ease of controlling a city (instead of a country) does not take the credit from the local authorities who finally acted together. Many of Macau’s problems, with regard to the operation of public services, are the result of deaf conversation between departments. In this case of the coronavirus, it was pleasant to see a collective effort in favor of the common wellbeing. Hopefully, this good example will continue.
Unlike Macau and Hong Kong, which acted immediately, with effective actions of tracking, isolation, and other preventive measures, Europe was experiencing an almost incomprehensible lethargy in early February. As if the coronavirus problem were exclusively Chinese.
Anyone who left Macau to fly anywhere in Europe was aware of the precautions to be taken and had to deal with a paraphrenia of equipment at the borders and at the airport in Hong Kong. But, when arriving in Europe, practically nobody wore masks, there was no temperature detector at airports, and life was running calm and serene.
The escalation of cases in South Korea, Iran, and especially in Italy, was a wake up call for Europeans to a reality that, although still far from being a calamity, has to be addressed with responsibility and precision.
It is true that there is no point in entering into collective hysteria and that the cases of this near-pandemic are far less deadly than the number of fatalities caused annually by the so-called normal flu. Also, the enormous attention of the media and social media to the problem is giving an excessive proportion to the issue. It is no less true that without responsible and efficient global leadership, the spread of this virus will greatly affect the world economy with repercussions that can in many cases be disastrous.
The good performance of the Macau authorities is not enough because the city cannot isolate itself from the rest of the world. The impact will continue to make itself felt.
While the main world governments must support the pharmaceutical industry to find a cure (we know that this industry prefers to invest in medicines for chronic diseases, as it is much more profitable), the governments of smaller countries and regions cannot neglect incentive and support measures, and, in many cases, depending on the state of their finances and reserves, non-repayable contributions.
Fortunately, Macau’s financial reserves are more than healthy and it is for situations like this that exist. Now, we can’t hesitate to invest in recovery while it is necessary not to lose sight of the fact that it is also an opportunity that many will take advantage to score undeserving gains.
The Macao Health Bureau (SS) continues to have an anguished perspective on communication and how they should act in this long-standing global communication paradigm.
They believe they only have to carry out prevention and public information campaigns through daily and weekly newspapers, in their printed version only, and keep refusing to collaborate with the medium that has an immeasurably greater impact, both locally and globally: the Internet.
Thanks to this obtuse mentality, the Macao Health Bureau is only confirming what has long been suspected about them: they lack initiative, and have methods of communication that belong to the last century, which have no bad consequences because online media continue to do their work for free.
Plus, this is what the Macao Health Bureau wants: to have some of the biggest local online media working for them for free, knowing that they can never stop doing it for the sake of professional ethics, from which they cannot distance themselves. Ethics which, apparently, those who lead the Macao Health Bureau seem to be unaware of.
In these more complicated times, it would be wiser for the new Secretary for Social Affairs to understand what has been happening for a while now, and to finally put an end to this unfair situation. Otherwise, those promises of joint work and support to Macao SMEs are just empty promises. Judging from the experience that groups like ours have had in recent years, unacceptable lies can only harm the common good.