Over 200 million ‘government masks’ sold in Macau

2021-05-04 03:35     Comment:0

The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre announced yesterday that over 200 million facemasks have been sold under the government’s facemask purchase scheme since its launch on January 23 last year.

Macau’s population stood at 683,100 at the end of last year, according to the latest available demographics from the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC).

The facemasks sold under the scheme are colloquially known as “government masks”.

A statement by the centre yesterday said that Macau’s COVID-19 epidemic situation has been stable thanks to residents’ perseverance in adhering to the government’s various COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing a facemask when out and about, which the statement said has resulted in a “strong defence line” against COVID-19 in the community, because of which Macau has not recorded a new local COVID-19 case for over 400 days, the statement said.

However, the statement noted that the COVID-19 pandemic is still very serious globally, apart from Macau’s still relatively low COVID-19 vaccination rate, because of which residents should not let their guard down in the various COVID-19 prevention measures.

Macau has recorded 49 COVID-19 cases since January 22 last year, 47 of which have been classified as imported, while two cases have been classified as “connected to imported cases”. The 49 patients have all been cured and discharged from hospital, and no fatalities have been reported in Macau, which has been spared a community transmission of the novel coronavirus disease.

Under the facemask purchase scheme, each local resident, non-resident worker and non-local student enrolled in Macau’s higher education institutions are entitled to buy 30 facemasks at the fixed price of 24 patacas every 30 days at designated outlets upon presentation of their original Macau ID card, work permit or student card.

Under the 30-day scheme, parents or legal guardians are entitled to buy 30 facemasks for each child aged between three and eight.

There are 83 outlets for the ongoing 29th round of the government’s facemask purchase scheme which runs until May 26, comprising 57 designated pharmacies, eight public health centres in Macau and Taipa and two public health stations in Coloane, as well as 16 community association venues.

The government’s free COVID-19 vaccination drive covers local residents, non-resident workers and non-local students enrolled in Macau. However, all other non-locals who hold a permit to stay in Macau, such as the family members of non-resident workers employed in Macau, have to pay 250 patacas per jab – which means that they have to pay 500 patacas to be inoculated against COVID-19 considering that each person requires two jabs.

Both types of COVID-19 vaccines currently available in Macau, China’s Sinopharm inactivated vaccine and Germany’s BioNTech mRNA vaccine, require two jabs for people to develop immunity.

Warning to associations failing to comply with COVID-19 measures

Meanwhile, in a statement on Sunday the centre urged the city’s various associations, enterprises and organisations to strictly comply with the government’s COVID-19 measures when organising their events.

According to the statement, the centre has been aware of a recent local media report according to which all the participants in a large-scale event organised by an association were not wearing facemasks and failed to adhere to one-metre social distancing.

The statement did neither identify the media outlet nor the association.

The statement said that the Health Bureau was still collecting more information about the incident. However, it was quick to add that it had ordered the association to give an explanation as to why it had failed to ensure the implementation of COVID-19 prevention measures during the event. The statement said that the Health Bureau did not rule out the possibility of fining the association for its failure to comply with the government’s COVID-19 measures.

The statement underlined Macau’s “hard-won” achievement in its COVID-19 prevention and control work.

Over 108,000 jabs

Meanwhile, the centre announced in another statement yesterday that as of 4 p.m. yesterday, 108,174 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to 70,972 people in Macau, comprising 33,632 who had received their first jab and 37,340 who had received their second jab.

A total of nine adverse events were reported in the past 24 hours (until 4 p.m. yesterday). The total number of adverse events since the start of the vaccination drive stood at 489, or 0.45 percent of the total number of jabs, including two serious cases.

Shoppers enter Farmácia Popular in Largo do Sendao yesterday, one of the government’s designated pharmacies where “government masks” are sold. Photo: Tony Wong

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