Caritas shelters half a thousand during state of immediate prevention

October 1, 2021

Marco Carvalho

Since the Macau Government declared, last Saturday, the state of immediate prevention, Caritas Macau shelters welcomed more than half a thousand registrations. Zhuhai’s decision to impose mandatory quarantine on anyone who has been to Macau has left hundreds of non-resident workers in  limbo. There are also local residents among the affected. 

Over the past five days, Macau Caritas has provided more than half a thousand overnight stays to Macau residents and non-resident workers who were indirectly affected by the community outbreak of Covid-19 that led the government to declare the state of immediate prevention last Saturday.

The aggravation of the epidemiological panorama in the SAR led the authorities of the neighbouring continental city of Zhuhai to declare a 14-day mandatory period of quarantine for those who had been in Macau. The new health provisions left dozens of non-resident workers in limbo, unable to return home. 

“Caritas provided assistance to more than five hundred people during these days. When I say five hundred people, some of them have used the facilities more than once. It was not exactly more than five hundred people, but more than five hundred enrolments to be accurate,”  Paul Pun told O Clarim. “Most of them are migrant workers from the People’s Republic of China. If they decide to return to China, they will need to undergo a 14-day quarantine. They are unable to return, but they have nowhere to stay here in Macau. These people used to cross the border every day and spend the night in China,”  the secretary general of Caritas added.

The tightening of the sanitary provisions on both sides of the Barrier Gate does not only affect non-resident workers. Also affected are around five dozen Macau residents living in cities such as Zhuhai and Zhongshan. “We have also given shelter to some local residents that have their homes in China. Due to the new coronavirus contingency policies, people cannot return to Zhuhai and Zhongshan, to the places where they live. They were forced to stay in Macau,” the secretary general of Caritas claimed. “About ten percent of the people who stayed at the Caritas Shelters are women. Macau residents are about ten percent. We offer them a place where they can sleep, where they can take a shower or simply rest. We provide accommodation, as the Bible says. We try to be Good Samaritans,” Paul Pun explained.

Caritas currently operates three shelters, all in the Ilha Verde area, close to the new Qingmao border. The local authorities said on Tuesday that the Covid-19 massive tests that were organized didn’t identify any positive case. The second mass testing event organized by the Macau Government in little more than a month began on Saturday, after two local infections were detected in security guards at one of the hotels being used for quarantine. Around 690,000 people were tested.