Addressing Wednesday’s press conference about Macao’s novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the Health Bureau’s (SSM) Control of Communicable Diseases and Surveillance of Diseases Department Coordinator Leong Iek Hou said that the government will arrange for the “first batch” of casino frontline workers to be tested for COVID-19 as early as today.
Starting from Wednesday, all gamblers and other guests entering casino premises must undergo a temperature check and show their green Macao Health Code and a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19. Wednesday’s implementation of the tightened COVID-19 prevention and control measures for local casinos coincided with the lifting of Guangdong’s 14-day quarantine requirement for all arrivals from Macao.
The Macao government announced on Tuesday that it will arrange for casino frontline workers – including dealers, cage workers and security guards – to undergo one-off nucleic acid tests in phases. The Health Bureau will liaise with the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) to assess whether any other groups of casino frontline workers should be covered by the one-off nucleic acid testing. The Health Bureau is also discussing with the city’s six gaming operators the COVID-19 testing arrangements with the aim of completing the tests for all the casino frontline workers in a short time, according to Tuesday’s announcement.
Leong reaffirmed on Wednesday that the new COVID-19 testing measure for casino frontline workers doesn’t mean that they are only allowed to work after undergoing their tests. Leong also said that that the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau has deployed more staff to inspect how the new COVID-19 prevention and control measures are being implemented in the city’s casinos and has ordered gaming operators to deploy more staff to ensure the sound implementation of the new measures.
According to the Statistics and Census Bureau (DSEC), the gaming industry had 58,225 full-time employees at the end of last year, including 25,459 dealers (croupiers).
The lifting of Guangdong’s quarantine requirement, which started at 6 am on Wednesday, is applicable to all arrivals from Macao, except confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients, those who have been in close contact with confirmed COVID-19 patients, those with a fever or any respiratory symptoms, and those who have been to a foreign country, Hong Kong or Taiwan within the 14 days prior to their intended entry into Guangdong.
Only those who can present their green Guangdong Health Code – which is converted from the Macao Health Code – and a valid NAT certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past seven days are allowed to enter Guangdong from Macao. Those who have entered Guangdong from Macao can only travel within the nine Greater Bay Area (GBA) cities in the province, namely Dongguan, Foshan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan and Zhuhai, while Macao residents who work or live in Guangdong and mainlanders who have returned to the province from Macao can travel within the whole province.