Macau Casino Workers to Undergo Mandatory COVID-19 Testing
Posted on: July 14, 2020, 11:14h.
Last updated on: July 14, 2020, 02:36h.
Macau casino workers will soon be required to undergo a COVID-19 test, as the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) relaxes certain border entry requirements.
The Macau Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) announced today that all employees working inside the enclave’s casinos will need to test negative for the coronavirus. Anyone wishing to enter a casino must prove they, too, are clear of COVID-19 by either showing a certificate or undergoing a test.
Macau’s Health Bureau says the government has the ability to conduct some 16,000 nucleic acid tests per day. Such tests provide results in minutes, as the fast-acting machines are able to detect nucleic acid associated with the COVID-19 disease.
The testing ability should be adequate, considering Macau welcomed just 16,133 people in all of May. Prior to the pandemic, more than three million travelers made their way into the enclave each month.
Easing Entry, Increasing Testing
Macau’s casinos have been barren, as the region has remained largely closed to outsiders. Only people arriving from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Guangdong have been permitted entry, and those individuals have been forced to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
That restriction will be partially lifted beginning tomorrow, July 15, for people coming from the Guangdong region, which is the most populous province in China and neighbors both Hong Kong and Macau. Last year, Guangdong accounted for 46 percent of all visits to Macau.
With an influx of traffic expected, Macau is trying to ease concerns about a new wave of coronavirus infections by proactively testing.
Macau officials said casino workers will be tested in the coming days. Casino front line workers, such as table game dealers, cashiers, and security personnel, will be prioritized.
Before a gambler will be granted access into a Macau casino, they will first need to have their body temperature examined. Should they be free of any fever, including a low-grade one — defined as 99.14 degrees Fahrenheit or higher by the World Health Organization — the person will then need to complete a health declaration statement asserting that they have no known sickness, nor have been around someone who has been ill within the prior 14 days.
People wanting to gamble must also present a “valid nucleic acid test” document showing they have been recently tested for the coronavirus and found to be negative.
[The strict protocols are designed] to ensure health and safety of casino employees and patrons,” DICJ officials explained.
Should Macau and Guangdong be able to keep their borders clear of quarantine requirements, gaming industry analysts at Credit Suisse believe gross gaming revenue (GGR) in the near term could “recover gradually to 15 percent to 25 percent of pre-COVID levels.”
JP Morgan analysts issued similar forecasts, but cautioned the coming month “will be a litmus test for the size of the pent-up demand.” They added that it will likely “set a baseline for 2021 recovery.”
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