The Macau Health Code mobile application, which monitored the activity of local inhabitants and visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic, has been deactivated. As a Special Administrative Region (SAR) of the People’s Republic of China, Macau residents experienced strict pandemic regulations from the start of 2020 until last year. It was not until January that the end of the coronavirus entry regulations, such as testing, quarantine and observance protocols, was declared. This came after China’s President Xi Jinping discontinued his controversial “zero-COVID” program, which implemented lockdowns and travel limitations when clusters of positive COVID tests were identified.
The Health Code app was introduced in Macau early in 2020, and was required by anyone in the region or anyone attempting to enter or leave it to carry out most activities, including leisure activities. During the past three years, residents and visitors had to submit their test results to the app, which would then display a corresponding color based on the person’s most recent health evaluation. It was also used to keep track of who had been vaccinated against COVID-19, and facilitated mass testing following the detection of new cases.
Although Macau is part of China through the “one country, two systems” constitutional principle, it has its own borders and was able to isolate itself during the peak of the pandemic. As a result, the region was able to remain COVID-free for most of the pandemic, until outbreaks were reported in June. In response, the Macau government ordered the closure of the city’s casinos for a week in July.
The Macau government has asserted that the data collected by the Health Code has been completely deleted. Furthermore, the app remains in a dormant state, allowing the government to reactivate it in case of a new pandemic or resurgence of COVID-19.