Caritas Macao welcomes homeless migrant workers

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Catholic charity Caritas Macao has provided shelter to hundreds of non-resident migrant workers who have become homeless following strict Covid-19 prevention measures.

The Caritas temporary reception center has offered more than 500 overnight stays since October 2 after authorities in Macau announced new restrictions and ordered a third mass test of residents after three new cases of coronavirus were registered, a reported Jornal-O-Clarim, the Portuguese-language Catholic weekly for the diocese of Macao.

The new community outbreak has also prompted authorities in the Chinese mainland of Zhuhai to order a 14-day quarantine for anyone who has stayed in Macau, leaving hundreds of non-resident workers in limbo.

Among those affected were around 60 Macau residents living in cities such as Zhuhai and Zhongshan, while around 10 percent of those who stayed in three Caritas shelters were women and Macau residents.

“We tried to be good Samaritans,” Paul Pun, secretary of Caritas Macao, told the newspaper.

Authorities in Macau have declared preventative measures and a third mass test in just over a month after three new infections were reported in the city-casino-resort this week.

Macau has seen only 74 coronavirus cases and no deaths thanks to strict pandemic measures

A 46-year-old woman from Zhuhai who has been in Macau since September 26 tested positive and was later followed by two security guards at a hotel used for quarantine, alerting authorities to a possible community epidemic.

While preventive measures were being applied in the city, authorities carried out mass tests on around 690,000 residents in 48 hours from Monday to Tuesday.

Macau also canceled the reopening of its border during the Golden Week holidays that began on Oct. 1, causing frustration among the business community at the gambling and gaming hub in Asia, according to media reports.

Tens of thousands of tourists visit Macau every day during the Golden Week holidays. In 2019, some 980,000 tourists visited Macau during Golden Week in October, according to a report by Inside the Asian game.

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Thanks to strict pandemic measures, Macau has recorded just 74 cases of the coronavirus and no deaths, according to government data.

Macao, now a special administrative region of China, was under Portuguese rule from 1557 to 1999. Catholicism arrived in Macau during the Portuguese period. The diocese of Macao has some 30,000 Catholics in nine parishes in the island city.

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