Govt lifts NAT proof for casino entry

2021-03-03 03:28     Comment:0

The local government had decided to lift from today its requirement for gamblers entering local casinos to present a nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19, after considering that the COVID-19 epidemic in the mainland is expected to remain stable.

The cancellation of the NAT proof measure took effect at 00:00 today.

The government’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre made the announcement in a statement yesterday, which said that casinos must continue to strictly implement the various officially required COVID-19 prevention measures.

Since July 15 last year the Macau government had required all those entering casinos to show a NAT certificate proving that they had tested negative for COVID-19, which had coincided with Guangdong lifting its quarantine requirement for arrivals from Macau.

The whole mainland lifted its quarantine requirement for arrivals from Macau on August 12 last year.

All those travelling between Macau and the mainland must present a NAT certificate confirming that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within the past seven days.

Yesterday’s statement by the centre pointed out that all arrivals from the mainland have to present a NAT certificate proving that they have tested negative for the novel coronavirus within the past seven days before being allowed to enter Macau.

The statement pointed out that the government has concluded that Macau’s casinos have always been strictly implementing all the officially required COVID-19 prevention measures, such as requiring gamblers to show their green Macau Health Code, ensuring that they are always wearing a facemask, apart from installing partitions to keep a safe distance between patrons at gaming tables, and the practising of social distancing.

No domestically-transmitted case in mainland in 24 days

The statement also noted that no areas in the mainland have been newly classified as a COVID-19 “medium-risk” or “high-risk” area for 10 consecutive days – since the last COVID-19-affected city, Hebei province’s capital of Shijiazhuang, was downgraded to a COVID-19 “low-risk” area on February 22, apart from the fact that no domestically-transmitted COVID-19 case has been confirmed in the mainland for 24 consecutive days.

The statement also said that “it is expected” that the mainland’s COVID-19 situation would continue to remain stable with the weather getting warmer across the country.

The statement said that after considering all these factors, the government has decided to cancel its NAT certificate requirement for those entering casinos from 00:00 today. However, the casinos must continue to implement various other COVID-19 prevention measures, such as checking gamblers’ temperatures, requiring them to show their green Macau Health Code, and ensuring that they are always wearing a facemask, the statement said.

The COVID-19 epidemic in a number of north-eastern provinces had deteriorated over the past few months, before it started to stabilise last month.

According to the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau’s (DICJ), Macau had 41 casinos owned by six operators at the end of last year. However, the operations of four of SJM’s 22 casinos were suspended at that time.

Meanwhile, the centre said in a separate statement last night that since the launch of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination drive on February 9, as of 6 p.m. yesterday a total of 39,054 people had made an appointment to be inoculated against the novel coronavirus, 16,044 of whom have had their first jab already.

Two gamblers show their nucleic acid test (NAT) certificate on their smartphones to security guards at entrance of the Grand Lisboa casino in the city centre last night. Photo: Tony Wong

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