Special Report – Praise…

Throughout this year, Macau received several praises from others, and several scientific articles cite MSAR as a reference. We added several of these compliments along with the few criticisms that were heard.

MB January 2021 Special Report | The COVID-19 year

“These measures heightened the confidence of the public in the government with the added benefit of keeping the public informed and ensuring that they learnt the correct response” – Sin Man Ieng and Io Hong Cheong
“Macau SAR took this epidemic outbreak as the most dangerous and serious situation which might cause the huge damage to Macau society” – Kerry Mei Hua
“From our perspectives, it was a win in the battle against COVID-19 to curb the virus spreading in the public leading a less drastic surge of medical demand” – Chon Fu Lio and others
“Macau has taken the lead in achieving zero patients in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area. As of the end of June, there have been no new imported cases for more than 70 consecutive days, thanks to Macau’s efficient urban epidemic prevention and control measures” – Liang Zheng and Yile Chen
“What has distinguished Macau’s response to the virus, which has so far claimed the lives of more than 18,200, has been its willingness to act quickly. Keeping an ear to the ground and being able to react as the data comes in and not waiting too long is essential” – US News
“The lock-down also allowed the Macau government to showcase itself as a professionally prepared and exemplary city-state politically committed to the wider Chinese national project of health surveillance in line with the perspective of ‘hygienic modernity’” – Dennis Zuev and Kevin Hannam
“With no immediate end to the current pandemic in sight, Macau casinos’ operational adjustments could provide insight into the ongoing business activity under COVID-19, and that might also augur the future of gaming in other Asian jurisdictions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Macau’s decisive response to this public health crisis has been notable in the region” – Hong-Wai Ho
“Macau may be used as a reference for similar urbanized and densely populated cities in other territories” – Angus Cheong and others
“Unlike the tragic scenarios experienced in other regions, Macau keeps the infection controlled given that the Macau government has adopted efficient and suitably targeted measures against the COVID-19 pandemic” – Vera Lúcia Raposo and Man Teng Iong
“Macau’s prevention communication is not perfect, but the city’s experience offers insights to European authorities on how to contain the epidemic and minimize undesirable outcomes as the epidemic is just beginning in Europe” – Anna Weng Ian Au
“The response policies of the Government are timely and effective, making Macau one of the lightest epidemic regions in the world” – Lue Li
“Wuhan Pneumonia: Macau’s preparedness is praised better than epidemic prevention veteran Hong Kong” – BBC

… and criticism

Last May, two researchers from the University of Macau (UM) published an article analyzing the struggle against the COVID-19 pandemic in Macau and concluded that the city has won that struggle, amid some legal doubts.

More than half a year later, one of the authors, Associate Professor at UM’s Faculty of Law Vera Lúcia Raposo said: “My perception of how Macau is dealing with the pandemic at the moment is not as positive as it was when I wrote the article.”

“I know that this is not the general opinion of the resident community, but I, more than a resident, am a lawyer, so I cannot fail to assess the situation from the legal point of view, namely, from the perspective of constitutional law (because my doctorate was precisely in the area of legal-political science and there are ‘lessons’ that are never forgotten),” she explained.

Raposo underlined that “as any student of constitutional law knows, any and all restrictions on fundamental rights must be justified, necessary, adequate and proportional.” But she didn’t see “that these requirements are fulfilled in view of the restrictions of rights that have been verified in the MSAR, even more leading to situations of discrimination depending on the resident status or blue card and / or the person’s nationality.”

Raposo was referring in particular “to freedom of movement, including entry into the territory and the move to Hong Kong, and family reunion, which has encountered so many impediments (curiously, none of them invoked in connection with the Grand Prix).”

“In a scenario of a pandemic crisis, individual rights and freedoms may have to compromise at various points in relation to the protection of public health. However, this cannot mean the exclusive predominance of public health, as if there was nothing more to discuss” – Vera Lúcia Raposo

According to this Macau-based scholar, “it is not enough to invoke public health to restrict rights, it is necessary to: i) Justify to what extent the normal exercise of the right would jeopardize public health; ii) Demonstrate that the restriction is absolutely necessary for the (public health) purpose that is being sought and that the same could not be accomplished in a less restrictive way; iii) Demonstrate that the restriction is able to serve the end in view (that is, that it is actually achieving it); iv) Demonstrate that the expected benefits of the restriction outweigh the losses caused.”

“None of this is demonstrated in legal terms,” she stated to Macau Business.

“It is true that—as much as it has been proclaimed—in a scenario of a pandemic crisis, individual rights and freedoms may have to compromise at various points in relation to the protection of public health. However, this cannot mean the exclusive predominance of public health, as if there was nothing more to discuss. If this were the case, we would enter a scenario of perversion of the rule of law, which certainly no one wants, nor does the Executive intend to establish,” Raposo concluded.

Read more | Special Report – The main measures