The Work of Fuhong Society of Macau during COVID-19 Pandemic

By Fuhong Society of Macau

The Fuhong Society of Macau1 is a nonprofit social service organization, founded by a group of volunteers in May 2003. At present, it operates 12 service units, mainly providing service for people with disabilities, autistic persons and people with mental illness, helping them to learn more skills and knowledge, so that they can realize the sufficient growth in all physical and spiritual aspects.

People with disabilities enjoy all basic human rights, recognition and respect must be the most important aspects to them. They have the right to accept all essential aids so that they can realize sufficient growth in all physical and spiritual aspects. The organization will make all efforts to ensure the respect for their rights.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, countries are racing to slow the spread of the virus by testing and treating patients, carrying out contact tracing, limiting travel, quarantining citizens, and cancelling large gatherings such as sporting events, concerts, and schools.

In Macao, there are a total of 45 cumulative confirmed cases of COVID-19, no deaths from the disease and no record or occurrence of community transmission. Until 21 May, the Health Bureau announced that the last COVID-19 patient in Macao had fully recovered and had been discharged from hospital, which means that all 35 COVID-19 patients during the two waves of outbreak have been discharged from hospital.

The government is preparing for the resumption of the normal functioning of society, and plans to extend nucleic acid testing to some groups of people such as fishermen, social workers, or people in indoor establishments with large groups of people, such as care homes, prisons and hospitals. Schools reopened for senior secondary school students and junior high school students on May 4 and May 11 respectively. The Education Bureau will decide when to resume classes for students of primary schools, kindergartens and special education schools. Besides, teachers and other secondary school staff members who live in Macau will have to undergo the nucleic acid test once, while local teachers and pupils commuting between Macau and Zhuhai will have to undergo the test every seven days. The coronavirus situation in Macau is now “under control” and border restrictions between Macau and Zhuhai have extended the limitation. Yet, Macau still requires all arrivals from China’s mainland – including Macau residents – to submit a negative test result for COVID-19 when entering. Macau residents could receive tests at the border, but visitors will be refused if they don’t have test results on them.

From February till now, most of the social service organizations in Macau have been stopped, except 24 hours residential service that continues to offer diverse services for people with moderate or severe intellectual disabilities. Although services have been restricted, our Fuhong Society of Macau carried out various methods to keep in touch with our service users, such as making phone calls and home visiting.

Likewise, our outreach team distributes resources to persons with mental illness in rehabilitation and bringing them love and care. We also extend our services for parents or caregivers of the disabled persons, by uploading videos for them to learn and help them while living with the disabled persons, to overcome the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. During the outbreak, our social enterprise maintains the normal operation of the service, such as masks packaging and laundry service, ensure to have a proper working and good working condition with the aim of contributing for our society. In terms of entertaining, we organized an online live show, performed by our autistic service users, “Life Band” and artists, strive for delivering affirmative support to the community, and fight against the pandemic together.

Since its emergence in every continent, cases are rising constantly. In recent times, an increase in symptoms of depression and anxiety is already being reported in a number of countries in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the need to urgently increase investment in services for mental health, or there will be a risk of a massive increase in mental health conditions in the coming months. We should consider ways to prevent a similar pandemic recurring and we wish the pandemic will be alleviated as promptly as possible, the economy and people’s livelihood will be back on track, and the affected countries will continue to thrive!

As we have been concerned about the current issues in other countries, we sincerely hope that all of you can stay safe, take time to care for your loved ones, and have the opportunity to help others in your community who need support. In the near future, hope we can continue our rehabilitation work for people with disabilities again! Let’s keep in touch and hope to work with you very soon!

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Ms. Maria de Fatima Salvador dos Santos Ferreira, President, Fuhong Society of Macau

Ms.Chau Wai I, Jennifer, Director, Fuhong Society of Macau

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