Macau has not reported any new local cases of transmission of Covid-19 – including cases of asymptomatic infection – for 388 consecutive days, much thanks to the strict entry policies of the city, however, how much is too much?
To date, Macau has diagnosed 49 cases, of which 47 were imported cases and the other two are related to imported cases.
Still, if you were to just drop a random onlooker in the city at the moment he would believe we are among a citywide cluster of local cases.
You go to an open park and no matter how long you need to wall, you are still required to enter by that one entrance, fill up your health questionnaire and show it to security.
People in public libraries are still required to wear a mask at all time and mask use is still required upon entrance on public buses.
While it is undeniable diligence and discipline one was greatly required to keep the city free of cases at what point do health effort become redundant and just for show?
Yes, Macau is a successful containment case internationally but at what point exactly policies can be eased?
If it is only when most residents are properly vaccinated, then it does look like it will take a while.
At the same time, it would be nice to some of the diligence and obedience witness for things such as wearing health maks at all time translated into adherence to the vaccination plan, currently at only 8 per cent, while our neighbours in Zhuhai lead the country with an astounding 80 per cent.
Recently another local resident explained to me he did not want to be vaccinated as there were no cases in Macau and he was not able to travel abroad anyway.
However, how does he even expect to travel abroad or receive anyone from overseas if, like him, so many local residents refuse to be vaccinated?
At the same time, entry and quarantine restrictions remain at levels that can sometimes feel greatly excessive.
In a recent case, a local resident who had suffered an infection last year was mandated to carry out a 21-day quarantine in the Alto de Coloane health centre because she had been infected last year.
Regardless that she has tested negative in all nucleic acid tests, has not shown any symptoms or abnormal health condition she was not allowed to carry out quarantine in a local hotel as usual just because she had antibodies indicating she had once been infected.
It also brings to question the psychological assistance authorities are providing to residents and non-residents alike who are required to carry out lengthy quarantines before being allowed entry into the city
Arrivals from India, Pakistan and the Philippines are now required to carry out a 28-day quarantine, almost one month confined to a room and scary proposition.
The world is still a distant place from Macau at the moment, and the road to some kind of normalcy is long. So let’s try and make it as bearable as possible for the local ‘inmates’ population.