COVID-19 hero Zhong Nanshan, ex-CE Chui Sai On awarded Macau’s top honour

2020-12-19 21:51     Comment:0

The public face of the nation’s fight against the novel coronavirus disease, Zhong Nanshan, and Macau’s former chief executive Fernando Chui Sai On have been awarded the Macau Special Administrative Region’s (MSAR) highest Decoration of Honour, the Grand Lotus, the Macau Government Information Bureau (GCS) announced yesterday. 

Zhong, born in Nanjing in 1936, is a pulmonologist and respiratory disease expert. He was president of the Chinese Medical Association from 2005 to 2009. He is a recipient of the Order of the Republic, the nation’s highest order of honour, “for his outstanding contribution to fighting the COVID-19 epidemic,” in September, Xinhua reported at that time. 

Zhong, widely known as the nation’s “SARS hero”, earnt international fame for managing the SARS outbreak. He was voted one of the nation’s top 10 scientists in 2010, according to Xinhua. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic which was first identified in Wuhan, Zhong was a leading advisor in managing the crisis, suggesting evidence-based control measures to contain the disease and sharing the successful treatment plan with the international community, national and foreign media reported at that time. 

He was educated at Beijing Medical University, where he finished his residency training in internal medicine.

Zhong completed further training at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London and the University of Edinburgh Medical School between 1979 and 1981, graduating from the University of Edinburgh Medical School with an MD in 1981.

Zhong visited Macau at the invitation of Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng between late June and early July. The Macau Post Daily reported at that time that during his visit Zhong shared the mainland’s COVID-19 prevention and control experience and COVID-19 treatment with Macau’s medical professionals during a seminar at Government Headquarters.

According to a local government statement at that time, Zhong praised Macau’s achievements in fighting COVID-19, but also urged Macau not to let its guard down in its ongoing COVID-19 prevention and control work. 

No new COVID-19 case has been confirmed in Macau for 176 days. The first case of the novel coronavirus disease was confirmed in Macau on January 22. Of Macau’s 46 COVID-19 cases 42 have been classified by the Health Bureau (SSM) has imported, while two cases have been classified as “connected to imported cases.” The 46 COVID-19 patients have been cured and discharged from hospital. Commentators have described Macau as an “oasis” in the global fight against COVID-19. Local healthcare sector sources have attributed Macau’s success in controlling and preventing the potentially fatal disease to the “close and permanent liaison and cooperation” between the local and mainland health authorities. 

Meanwhile, Chui said in a statement yesterday evening that the Grand Lotus Decoration of Honour awarded to him belonged to all those who contributed to Macau’s development and stability. Chui, born in Macau in 1957, headed the Macau government between December 2009 and last December. He holds a bachelor’s degree in City Hygiene Administration from California State University in Sacramento and a PhD in Public Health from the University of Oklahoma. He was Macau’s secretary of social affairs and culture in the first decade of the MSAR. 

In his statement, Chui also thanked the central government for the confidence that it had placed in him during his 10-year tenure at the helm of the local government.

Meanwhile, former secretary for economy and finance Lionel Leong Vai Tac, former secretary for public works and transport Lau Si Io, Ma Io Kun, the former commissioner-general of the Unitary Police Service (SPU) and ex-commander of Joint Civil Protection Operations, and the Chinese Educators Association of Macau were awarded the Golden Lotus Decoration of Honour. Retired Court of Final Appeal (TUI) judge Viriato Manuel Pinheiro de Lima and the Bank of China Macau Branch were awarded the Silver Lotus Decoration of Honour.

Many of the other decorations and medals, certificates of honour have been awarded to entities and teams that have been involved in the ongoing fight against COVID-19 such as the Health Bureau and the Tourism Crisis Management Office. 

According to the GCS statement, the ceremony to award the decorations, medals and honorific titles will be held next month. 

The government’s annual honours list is customarily announced in late December.

Zhong Nanshan (left), the nation’s renowned pulmonologist and respiratory disease expert, speaks during a seminar at the local Government Headquarters in late June when he shared the mainland’s COVID-19 prevention and control experience and COVID-19 treatment with local medical professionals, as Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng looks on. 

Photo: GCS

Macau’s then chief executive Fernando Chui Sai On addresses a press conference at Government Headquarters in November last year about his administration’s work during his 10-year tenure.

Photo: Iong Tat Choi

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