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Social service facilities to gradually reopen next week: govt

2020-06-02 03:53     Comment:0

Addressing yesterday’s press conference about Macau’s novel coronavirus disease situation, Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) Deputy Director Hoi Va Pou said that some of the city’s daycare centres for senior citizens and rehabilitation centres for different groups of users will reopen in phases from next Monday.

During the first two weeks of the reopening of a particular facility, the maximum number of users there per day must not exceed 30 percent of the maximum number stipulated by its licence, before its service can be fully resumed, Hoi also said.

The city’s social service facilities – most of which are privately run – have been closed since the Chinese New Year holiday in late January in response to the COVID-19 epidemic. Only a small number of them have resumed “limited” services. The bureau said last month that it will not allow all social service facilities to reopen at the same time, and instead their reopening will only be carried out gradually.

During yesterday’s press conference, Hoi said that after consulting with the Health Bureau (SSM) and listening to opinions of representatives from the city’s social service sector, her bureau has decided to allow some of the city’s daycare centres for the elderly and rehabilitation centres for various groups of users to gradually reopen from next Monday with “limited” services provided.


Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) Deputy Director Hoi Va Pou (centre), Inês Chan Lou (right), who heads the Macau Government Tourism Office’s (MGTO) Licensing and Inspection Department, and Alvis Lo Iek Long, one of the three clinical directors of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre pose during yesterday’s press conference about the city’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.  Photo: GCS

According to Hoi, six daycare centres for senior citizens and five rehabilitation centres for the intellectually disabled will gradually reopen from next Monday, while eight rehabilitation centres for the mentally ill and occupational rehabilitation centres for people with various forms of disabilities will gradually resume their services from June 22.

Hoi said that during the first two weeks of the reopening of a particular facility, only 30 percent of the maximum number of users stipulated by its licence is to be allowed to return and provided with “basic” services. During the third and fourth week, the facility is only allowed to accept 50 percent of the maximum number of users, Hoi said, adding that each facility is allowed to gradually increase the number of users from the fifth week of its reopening – depending on the situation following the resumption of services during the first four weeks – before its service can finally return to normality.

According to Hoi, the social service facilities that will reopen from next Monday will contact the respective users, their parents or family members to discuss the schedule for them to return to the facilities.

Hoi said that her bureau is helping the social service facilities prepare for their reopening, such as formulating official guidelines on their resumption of services. Hoi said that her bureau will also help the facilities train their staff and carry out drills in preparation for their reopening. Hoi also said that all staff of the social service facilities will have to be tested for the novel coronavirus before their respective resumption of services.

Hoi said that her bureau will constantly pay close attention to the development of the COVID-19 epidemic in Macau and elsewhere and the situation following the reopening of the social service facilities, and make possible adjustments to her bureau’s measures concerning the reopening of the city’s social service facilities.

However, Hoi urged parents or family members of users of social service facilities to look after them at home if they can, and not to have them return to the facilities unless absolutely necessary for the time being.

No COVID-19 case for 54 days

Meanwhile, Alvis Lo Iek Long, a clinical director of the public Conde de São Januário Hospital Centre, also pointed out during yesterday’s press conference that Macau has not confirmed a new COVID-19 case for 54 consecutive days. All of Macau’s 45 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospital.

Lo noted that four discharged patients are still undergoing their 14 days of recovery period isolation at the Health Bureau’s Public Health Clinical Centre in Coloane.

Picking up Macau residents from HK airport

Meanwhile, Inês Chan Lou, who heads the Licensing and Inspection Department of the Macau Government Tourism Office (MGTO), said during yesterday’s press conference that as part of the local government’s measures to help local residents studying overseas to return to Macau in the second half of this month, it provisionally plans that it will pick-up those who arrive at Hong Kong’s airport and transport them back to Macau. She said that the overall model this time will be similar to the Macau government’s operation to pick up local residents who returned from overseas in March, when the Macau government collected them at Hong Kong’s airport and transported them back to Macau by special buses via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (HZMB).

However, she was quick to add that the Macau government was still discussing with its Hong Kong counterpart the details of how the two governments will jointly carry out the cross-border operation in the second half of this month. 

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