The novel coronavirus is a highly contagious virus that causes respiratory infection. The virus, designated as COVID-19 by the World Health Organisation, was first identified by authorities in Wuhan in the Province of Hubei in China.
In an effort to support immediate relief efforts in Macau and China during the outbreak, the Galaxy Entertainment Group Foundation, in February 2020, set up a Coronavirus Relief Fund. Through the China Liaison Office in Macau, a donation of MOP 20 million was promptly provided to Hubei Province and the city of Wuhan, enabling them to purchase medical supplies and equipment that were in urgent demand.
In Macau, with advice from the Education and the Youth Affairs Bureau, financial assistance was provided to assist with local infection control, providing 35 local Macau schools – primary and kindergartens – with one-off subsidies of MOP 30,000 each for them to carry out the necessary infection prevention and sanitisation measures, so as to ensure a safe and clean environment for students when classes resume. Furthermore, in collaboration with the Social Welfare Bureau, a one-off subsidy of MOP 2,000 per registered child enrolled at 21 non-government subsidised nurseries was provided to their families to relieve the financial pressure on parents with children at these nurseries, as they still had to pay for their monthly service fees despite the nurseries being asked by Government to close because of coronavirus.
The rapid spread of COVID-19 had resulted in a dire shortage of masks and sanitising supplies, not only in our region but also overseas. With the assistance of the Procurement Department of the Galaxy Entertainment Group, surgical masks were purchased for the purpose of donating to those in need, with one million masks donated to the Macau SAR Government, and the Government of the Zhuhai City Government and Hengqin New Area, and a further 500 thousand sent to Monaco in support of their continued prevention efforts.
In March 2020, to ease the operating pressures and provide assistance to local Small and Medium Enterprises (“SMEs”) that have been affected by the epidemic, GEG announced the subscription, through the Galaxy Entertainment Group Foundation, of HK$100 million of the SMEs themed COVID-19 Impact Alleviation Social Bonds (“the Social Bonds”) that were recently issued by Bank of China (Macau Branch) (“BOC Macau”).
The Social Bonds were issued in response to the Macau SAR Government’s call to support affected SMEs overcome their challenges during the COVID-19 epidemic. Proceeds raised will be used to provide special loans and reduce the financing costs of Macau SMEs that provides health care and medical supplies or manufactures medical devices, etc., so as to support the recovery of the local production and supply of epidemic prevention and control products.
Since the beginning of this year, frontline healthcare workers in various parts of Mainland China have been steadfast in saving lives. With the virus gradually under control in Mainland China towards the beginning of April 2020, scientists and medical specialists have continued to work tirelessly on follow-up research in hopes of further containing the virus. A further MOP 75 million donation from the Foundation was therefore made to China, through Macau’s China Liaison Office, to enable the provision of care for healthcare workers, help with public health promotion and to support continuing medical and scientific research related to the epidemic.