The Macau government said in a Tuesday statement that the city’s casino staff would have to be tested for Covid-19, as part of new precautionary measures for anyone entering gaming venues in Macau. The new step regarding test certification would be applied in full to all casino patrons from Wednesday (July 15), said the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau, a body also known as DICJ.
The gaming regulator and the city’s health authorities will jointly arrange nucleic acid testing for casino staff. It will be done in batches, and front-line workers, such as casino dealers and security staff, would be prioritised, said the statement.
Such certification for casino employees will not be required from Wednesday, officials from the city’s Health Bureau stated in a press conference on Tuesday. They added that the cost for what was termed a “one-off test” for casino workers would be supported by the Macau government.
The DICJ confirmed in an emailed reply to GGRAsia on Tuesday that the authorities would “conduct a one-time test” for the city’s casino employees. Casino staff “will not have to be tested every time they enter the casino to work,” said a spokesperson from the bureau.
Leong Iek Hou, an official of Macau’s Health Bureau, said at the press conference that the government hoped to conduct “very soon” the nucleic acid tests for front-line casino staff.
The official stated that no dates had yet been confirmed for such tests, adding that the authorities were currently in discussion with the city’s six gaming operators in order to carry out the testing in an efficient way.
The Macau government has said it has capacity to conduct 16,000 nucleic acid tests per day. Currently, it does between 4,000 to 6,000 tests a day, it added.
On Monday, the gaming regulator said that “all people who intend to enter” the city’s casinos would be required not only to have their body temperature measured and to display a health-declaration statement, but also have to present a certificate of a “valid nucleic acid test” proving freedom from Covid-19.
The DICJ said that the fresh requirements were intended to ensure the health and safety of casino employees and patrons.
The steps have been announced concurrently with relaxations of quarantine arrangements – from 6am on Wednesday – between Macau and Guangdong province, according to the statement.
On Monday it was stated that a 14-day quarantine rule that applied to the majority of people travelling from Macau to neighbouring Guangdong province in the mainland would end from Wednesday.
The Macau government’s task force on Covid-19, known as the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre, said that on Tuesday (July 14) the government had to suspend the system for people to register for a nucleic acid test, due to a huge demand from Macau locals. The service is expected to resume on Wednesday.
In Tuesday’s press conference, the Macau health authorities said they were mulling the possibility of launching one more Covid-19 testing facility, in addition to the two existing testing stations.
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Carlo Santarelli and Steven Pizzella
Deutsche Bank analysts