President Xi Jinping has affirmed the role of Macao’s work in relation to the control and prevention of COVID-19 during the pandemic, and has directed Macao to continue its epidemic-control work in order to prevent the novel coronavirus from re-entering the city, said today the Chief Executive, Mr Ho Iat Seng.
The Chief Executive gave the information to reporters while at the Government Headquarters welcoming members of the public to today’s Open Day session. The Government Headquarters’ Open Day sessions are held today and Sunday (18 October) from 9am to 6pm.
In other remarks, Mr Ho commented on the idea of extending to 14 days – from seven days – the validity of the nucleic acid test certificate required for travel to Macao. The Chief Executive said further guidance would be needed from the National Health Commission, regarding the scientific grounds for such an idea. The Government had to study the notion prudently, especially as there had been confirmed cases of infection recently in Qingdao and Guangzhou.
Mr Ho went on to say that although Macao had put in requests for access to supplies of COVID-19 vaccine, there was no timeline yet regarding when such vaccine might be available to the general public. There were yet to be reports that any vaccine had passed stage-three efficacy tests.
Regarding the possibility of a travel bubble scheme with other places, Mr Ho said so far there had been no attempt at such cooperation. There might be the risk of a severe negative impact on Macao were its boundaries be opened to visitors from foreign countries. Protection of the lives and the health of the Macao public was the Government’s priority, he added.
In his remarks to the media, the Chief Executive said the amount payable to each Macao ID holder under the Wealth Partaking Scheme would not be changed in the coming year. He hoped the scheme would help spur the local economy. Also, the Government was currently garnering opinions from the community regarding how the funds might be distributed to Macao ID holders next year: whether via the route used in previous years or via a fresh method, he stated.
Mr Ho additionally said the Government was cautiously analysing suggestions regarding the possible launch of a third round of economic relief. Macao currently had some 600 billion patacas of fiscal reserve, and the Government had to deploy public funds in a scientific manner, he added.
Mr Ho thanked the public for showing understanding in relation to the Government’s work. He realised many people were facing adversity, particularly in relation to employment issues linked to the pandemic. The Government was deploying its utmost effort to adjust the structure of the local economy, a task that was not easy to achieve at short notice, Mr Ho said.
As a preliminary step, the Government would strive to assist young people with their employment opportunities. For next year there would also be a greater number of infrastructure projects, in a bid to offer job opportunities to construction workers.
The Chief Executive underlined the importance of adjusting the structure of Macao’s economy. This involved ensuring the stability of the casino-resort sector and other traditional industries, while also exploring fresh opportunities in nascent industries. The Government’s attempts to seek breakthroughs in this work included accelerating the development of the Guangdong-Macao Intensive Cooperation Zone planned on Hengqin island, Zhuhai; and launching new cooperation projects with technology companies on the mainland, in order to create fresh opportunities for Macao young people.