First dragon boat race day ends with conflicting advice on Covid-19 – Macau Daily Times

The first race day of this years Macao International Dragon Boat Races was held yesterday with standard body temperature detection installed, but no space allocated for social distancing in the athlete preparation area. Athletes and onlookers told the Times that the first major event of the year had energized the public after months of reduced social activity.The Nam Van Lake Nautical Center was divided into several sections, namely the business area, the spectator stands and the athlete area. Each area has only one entrance. Upon passing an entrance, all athletes and spectators had to present their Green Macau Health Code and have their body temperature measured.Previously, the Sports Bureau (ID), citing advice from the Health Bureau, announced that all people attending the event, including spectators and athletes, must wear a facemask at all times, except for athletes who are racing.However, viewing the event yesterday, which took place all afternoon, under a baking sun that eclipsed for about an hour, the Times observed that only a few people were following the IDs request.The number of seats has been reduced to about 2,000, half the number from last year. Although spectators were encouraged to keep an arms distance apart, the social distancing was only lightly enforced.The ID seemed to care more about the wellbeing of journalists, as every other seat in the media area was cordoned off, enforcing social distancing for journalists.The ID has also stated that this year fewer teams would be able to participate in the races due to a capping as part of the health measures. The athletes waiting area, however, did not reflect that requirement because the same amount of space was allotted to host waiting athletes. Although less packed than last year, the area was still crowded.Furthermore, at the preparation area, athletes were required to sit shoulder to shoulder as if they were already on the boat.Yesterday, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center issued a statement to remind the general public to avoid gathering in groups even when conducting sporting events.Despite the conditions, athletes, spectators and stall operators said they were satisfied with the hosting of the dragon boat races despite the Covid-19 pandemic still being severe in many places. Many have described the reduced social activity of the past four months as demoralizing. Members of the public told the Times yesterday that seeing the races going ahead had energized the city.Linda Chen, Vice Chairperson and Chief Operating Officer of Wynn Macau Ltd., who was present at the athlete rest area to show support to the companys team, shares this view.She said that it was only due to many peoples efforts that this year can see the races go ahead as in previous years, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. It is an unprecedented period, the executive stressed.Discussing the performance of the team, she said she was satisfied with the members diligence amid all the hardship faced. There has been limited time for practice, Chen said. The lake has been cordoned off for months in order to contain Covid-19, so they could not practice hands-on.Despite the challenges, our team members have kept practicing at home, Chen revealed. Some of them have even sacrificed time with their children to do training at home.The same strategy was also used by the University of Macau team, which won the title in the University Group. The teams coach Lei said that members were reminded to practice at home.The Marine and Water Bureau, the Municipal Affairs Bureau and the Macau Red Cross won the top three positions in the Public Entity Group.The Association of Macao Youth Development beat SJM Lotus A in the Womans 200m Category and Baa do Mar Amizade ended third place.Finally, Suncity Legend, SJM Golden Jubilee B and A took the top three places in 200m Open Category, respectively.

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First dragon boat race day ends with conflicting advice on Covid-19 - Macau Daily Times

Government reiterates need for special health measures during events and festivals – Macau News

The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre calls on the organisers and participants of festivals, cultural, recreational and sporting activities to strictly control the number of participants to 50 per cent or less of the general capacity of the site and to measure the temperature of all those who enter the venue.

According to information released on Sunday by the centre, all participants in the events have to present the Macao Health Code.

All participants and workers in the activity should, as far as possible, wear a mask during the entire process, removing the mask only when necessary, such as for eating. And when removing the mask, they should keep at least 1 metre away from others, the centre said.

The statement also indicated clearly that if due to the nature of the activity, participants cannot wear a mask, such as in physical exercises, sports competitions, shows, etc., and a minimum distance of 2 metres cannot be maintained during the process, a new nucleic acid test must be performed before collective training or testing.

The Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre also stressed thatto reduce the risk of transmission of the virus during collective festivals and cultural, recreational and sporting activities, the organising entities and participants must strictly comply with the guidelines of the Health Services, and must not, during the event, let their guard down, but must continue to maintain preventive and control measures such as adequate distance, use of a mask and handwashing.

Organising entities must place notices at the event location reminding participants not to meet and pay attention to personal hygiene, as well as advise them to disperse or leave; reinforce the cleaning and disinfection of equipment and objects at the event, especially in places with easy access to hands and sanitary facilities, and in certain places of the event, especially where there are no sanitary or handwashing facilities, and establish the quantity necessary alcohol disinfectant for public use, the centres statement said.

The statement was published when the Macao International Dragon Boat Races started at the Nam Van Lake Nautical Centre on Sunday which will end on June 25.

(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)PHOTO Macau Daily Times

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Government reiterates need for special health measures during events and festivals - Macau News

Paris throws off mask to party like the virus never was – Macau Business

Social distancing and face masks were largely forgotten as thousands of French people danced and partied well into Monday in the first big blow out since the coronavirus lockdown.

The annual midsummer Festival of Music usually brings millions of people out onto the streets across the country for impromptu concerts in cafes and on street corners that go on long into the night.

And despite emergency measures which ban gatherings of more than 10 people, thousands thronged the trendy Canal Saint Martin and the Marais districts of Paris late Sunday to dance and sing along to bands and DJs.

Not even heavy showers could dampen spirits, with few beyond those serving spicey merguez sausages from street stalls bothering to wear masks.

The Festival of Music is important, its a national event, 28-year-old reveller Violette told AFP as she boogied to a band in northern Paris.

And she laughed at the idea that people would be strictly respecting social distancing.

Not at all, she said.

But many who watched the crowds on the streets were horrified, taking to social media to voice fears of a second wave of infections.

What a brilliant idea! A Festival of Music just as we are going out of a major health emergency, one Twitter user commented.

Although none of the usual big set-piece extravaganzas were held beyond what French electronic music legend Jean-Michel Jarre had billed as the worlds first live virtual avatar concert, many felt the authorities had been too lax.

A senior doctor atthe Pitie-Salpetriere hospital in Paris, where many COVID-19 sufferers are still being treated, criticised the decision to let the festival go ahead.

This is not what a gradual end to the lockdown looks like, said Dr Gilbert Deray.

I understand that the Festival of Music is something of a liberation, but did we really have to have it this year?

Cinemas also reopened in France on Monday for the first time since the lockdown began in March.

The 5 Caumartin cinema in Paris opened one minute after midnight for a red-carpet champagne and popcorn sneak preview of the upcoming French comedy, Les Parfums (The Perfumes), about a prima donna perfume nose, who comes up with new fragrances.

There are no words to describe what I feel. I have been waiting for this for 99 days, cinema manager Louis Merle told the 120 people who had queued up for their first big-screen experience since March 17.

Watching series on Netflix is one thing, but the cinema is something else, said the films star Emmanuelle Devos.

Even though cinemas have reopened, they are far from back to normal.

The authorities insist that screenings can never be more than half full with a free seat either side of each filmgoer.

And everyone must wear masks as they queue for tickets and in the corridors.

Even so, pollsters estimate that 18.7 million French people almost a third of the population plan to go see a film in the next month.

by Fiachra GIBBONS

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Paris throws off mask to party like the virus never was - Macau Business

Local consumption incentive plan to inject up to MOP2.4 bln into the economy – Macau Business

The Macau consumption incentive plan will inject up to MOP2.4 billion (US$300.6 million) into the local economy, estimates released today (Monday) by local authorities reveal.

The creation of an electronic consumer card was one of the measures taken by the Government of Macau to relaunch the economy and help residents face the Covid-19 pandemic.

Between May, June and July, each resident of Macau is entitled to MOP3,000 patacas to spend on local businesses. With this measure, the Macau government injected MOP1.8 billion into the local economy.

In a press conference that served to present the interim report of the consumption subsidy plan, the authorities of the territory indicated that, until June 15, the 600,171 residents who joined the program had spent a total of MOP1.46 billion by using the consumer card.

Until June 15, each resident had spent an average of MOP2,481 patacas on the card, which has a total credit limit of MOP3,000.

The Government estimated that this consumption incentive plan could benefit the local economy in an amount between MOP1.8 million and MOP2.4 billion.

Stabilizing the consumer environment, increasing business confidence, relieving pressure from residents, further generalizing, even more, the use of electronic payment instruments, thus improving future development by commercial establishments, was the assessment made by the Government on the use of consumer cards.

According to the report, of the total amount provided by the Macau Government, 24 per cent was spent on the food and beverage sector, while 70 per cent was spent on retail trade.

On the same occasion, the director of the Economic Services Bureau (DSE), Tai Kin Ip, stated that more than 60 per cent of the total amount of transactions was placed in SMEs [small and medium-sized companies].

The results of the questionnaire survey show that more than 60 per cent of retailers and more than 40 per cent of retailers indicated that half or more than half of their turnover came from consumer cards, the government stated in the same press conference.

The Macau Government also noted that the consumer subsidies plan also served to change the habits of payment methods by residents, with a substantial increase in the use of mobile payments.

Since the announcement of the plan, in February, up to May, more than 14,000 mobile payment devices and QR codes were installed in commercial establishments.

In May alone, the authorities stressed, mobile payments rose by 25 per cent and their amount increased by 54 per cent, in relation to the previous period of the epidemic.

This year, starting in August, each resident will also benefit from another MOP5,000 patacas to be credited from the electronic consumption card.

Macau was one of the first territories to identify cases of infection with Covid-19 in late January. The territory then registered a first wave of ten cases, and another of 35, from March.

The city has had no new cases since April 9 and currently has no active cases, after the last patient was discharged on April 19.

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Local consumption incentive plan to inject up to MOP2.4 bln into the economy - Macau Business

UK looks to ‘right the wrongs’ of ‘Windrush’ scandal – Macau Business

The British government said Monday it was determined to right the wrongs of its treatment of Britons of Caribbean origin who were detained or deported as illegal immigrants.

Interior minister Priti Patel and Derek Webley, a senior church leader, will chair a cross-government working group to address the scandal involving the Windrush generation.

They were targeted despite moving to Britain legally in the 1950s and 1960s.

The move comes after an official report published in March found successive governments pushing a hard line on illegal immigration showed a complete disregard for their plight.

It also follows widespread anti-racism protests, sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the United States, which have focused renewed attention on Britains colonial past.

National Windrush Day is being marked for the second year running on Monday, to pay tribute to the contribution of the Windrush generation.

It commemorates the day in 1948 when the Empire Windrush ship first arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex, southeast England, carrying Caribbean migrants to help fill jobs in Britain.

The government said it gave 500,000 ($621,000, 554,000 euros) to English community groups and local authorities to host events to mark the occasion.

Patel said the new group was crucial to delivering on our promise to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation.

The scandal began to surface in 2017 after it emerged that hundreds and potentially thousands of Britons had been caught up in successive immigration clampdowns.

Their statuses were regularised in 1971 but few were given any official documentation nor were records kept.

The subsequent inquiry found the interior ministry had shown an institutional ignorance and thoughtlessness towards the issue of race and the history of those involved.

Wendy Williams, the reports author, warned Sunday there was a grave risk of similar failures happening again if the government does not implement its dozens of recommendations.

Figures released last month showed fewer than 5.0 percent of claims under the governments Windrush compensation scheme have been paid out so far.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on the government to learn from their suffering and end what he said was a hostile environment faced by immigrants in the capital.

It is clear that too many Londoners are still being failed by an immigration system that is prohibitively expensive and simply not fit for purpose, he said.

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UK looks to 'right the wrongs' of 'Windrush' scandal - Macau Business

World Views | When to wear a mask and when you can skip it – Macau Daily Times

Science has a lot to say about the effectiveness of wearing a mask to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but the communication of that science has been corrupted by a combination of partisan divides, sensationalist media stories, distrust, false dichotomies, and letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.The studies on masks arent perfectly definitive, but thats typical of many issues involving health risks from mercury contamination to cancer screenings. Its still better to make decisions based on an incomplete body of evidence than to ignore evidence altogether. In this case, it helps to add a dose of situational awareness and common sense.The public health community got off on the wrong foot with masks by advising against wearing them and then making a sudden flip-flop and telling us not to leave home without them. Further complicating the picture is a mix of peoples individual attitudes. Some members of the public still fear the virus and want to remain safe, and others are at peace with their risk but want some guidance on how to be a good citizen or at least be perceived as one.There have been reasonably convincing studies showing that masks stop some of the particles that might carry the virus out of peoples mouths. That suggests masks potential to protect others. Then there are observational studies, which look at mask use in the real world.Physician and infectious disease specialist Muge Cevik, who has been a prescient guide to relative risks, pointed out to me that mask-wearing should be informed by other studies on how the virus spreads. A consensus is finally starting to form that theres a negligible risk outdoors away from other people, and that very brief encounters pose very little risk, such as people walking, running or cycling past you.Common sense would suggest that if an activity poses negligible risk, then wearing a mask offers only a negligible benefit, and should be optional.On the other extreme are potential super-spreading events anywhere many people are confined indoors, especially if theres close contact. Trumps planned Oklahoma rally is a good example. There, common sense would dictate that such events should not take place at all.Then theres the middle ground. Mask wearing is likely to do the most good in settings where people have little choice but to interact in enclosed spaces grocery shopping, riding public transportation, ride-sharing, getting a haircut, or seeing a doctor.Also in this middle category is gathering outdoors in large groups such as at a protest. If most protestors wear a mask at all times, this will likely reduce transmissions.Cevik, who works at the University of St. Andrews in the U.K., pointed out that the six-foot rule applies best outdoors, while in badly ventilated indoor settings, aerosol particles might accumulate and put people at risk even if they never get that close to others. And length of exposure matters a lot, so bus drivers, haircutters and store clerks face a much higher risk than their customers. Their risk very likely goes down if customers wear masks.Then theres a problematic category of activities, such as eating in restaurants, where masks cant be worn consistently. Would diners be stuck trying to pull masks on and off with every bite? Some experts say such fiddling with masks is only going to spread any viruses the mask has captured. As a compromise, many restaurants are seating people outdoors and allowing them to keep masks off while eating. Gyms and yoga studios pose a similar challenge.The risks associated with close contact and crowds seem obvious and intuitive. And yet Americans have been fixated on the unlikely possibility that infectious doses of virus would fly off cyclists or creep in on packages. In response, some have adopted irrational mask-wearing practices, such as keeping one on while riding or driving, but pulling it down to congregate and chat with groups of people.And its no surprise that politics would infuse the issue, given the moral tone of the mask debate and different messages on mainstream and conservative media. In the U.S., we have some fraction of people wearing a mask all the time, and some fraction never wearing one. It would be better if everyone wore one when it was likely to help. Faye Flam, Bloomberg

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World Views | When to wear a mask and when you can skip it - Macau Daily Times

Difficult to find officials in Macao for senior positions – Macau News

Secretary for Transport and Public Works Raimundo do Rosrio said on Tuesday that he has decided to appointed Cheong Sio Kei, who was acquitted of a power abuse charge by the Court of First Instance (TJB) last week, as the deputy director of the Mapping and Land Registry Bureau (DSCC), after considering that its difficult to find an official in Macao for senior positions.

In Macao, there are not many people who are capable [of assuming a senior government post], the policy secretary told reporters after attending a committee meeting in the Legislative Assembly (AL).

Rosrio pointed out Cheong has recently been acquitted by the court of an alleged criminal offence so that he has decided to reappoint him.

In an executive order published in the Official Gazette (BO) last week, Rosrio appointed Cheong as the deputy director of the Mapping and Land Registry Bureau effective from June 10.

Cheong started to work in the Mapping and Land Registry Bureau as a public servant when he joined the public administration in 1993 when Macao was still under Portuguese administration. Cheong was the bureaus deputy director between November 1998 and December 1999. Cheong had been the acting director of the bureau since the establishment of the Macao Special Administrative Region (MSAR) in December 1999 until June 2009 when the Environmental Protection Bureau (DSPA) was established and he was appointed as its first director.

Cheong returned to the Mapping and Land Registry Bureau in June 2014 when he was appointed as its director.

Cheong resigned from his post as the director of the Mapping and Land Registry Bureau in June last year. This came after the Commission Against Corruption (CCAC) 2018 Annual Report published last year revealed that a then senior official of the Environmental Protection Bureau was alleged to have abused his power by arranging for a female colleague to accompany him on his working visits on multiple occasions, including a trip to Portugal in 2013. Local media outlets identified the senior official as Cheong.

(The Macau Post Daily/Macau News)PHOTO TDM

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Difficult to find officials in Macao for senior positions - Macau News