The Macau government has announced that casino and construction staff will not be required to present a 48-hour negative nucleic acid test (NAT) to be able to work, as previously announced. Instead, they will only need to present a negative rapid antigen test (RAT).
In anticipation of the NAT requirement, which was to begin on Friday 1 July at 7am, huge crowds of casino and construction site employees thronged at several NAT stations in Macau to have their test to qualify for work.
At a press conference at the Novel Coronavirus Response Coordination Center on Thursday evening, the Head of the Coordination Center, Leong Iek Hou, explained the chaotic situation this morning was “because many people went to the NAT station early.”
She said, “The Macau NAT testing capacity can definitely cope with all casino employees on a daily basis, just some individual citizens went to the testing station early, so it was disorderly.”
IAG interviewed a gaming employee this morning (Thursday), who reported that she went to the nucleic acid testing station on time for her test, but still had to wait three hours.
IAG asked Leong Iek Ho at the press conference who should be responsible if there is a massive infection due to the crowded and chaotic situation at the nucleic acid testing stations this morning. Leong replied, “I am only a doctor and cannot answer a question about responsibility.”
The Coordination Center said on Thursday afternoon that it had adjusted its precautionary measures for people entering casino areas and construction sites, saying, “no 48-hour negative NAT report is required, but a RAT is still required before entering [such] establishments.”
According to the Response Coordination Center, as of yesterday, there were 572 positive cases in the current outbreak. Of those, 224 people have received three vaccinations, 216 people have received two vaccinations, 23 people have received one vaccination and 109 people were unvaccinated, meaning 81% of the confirmed cases were vaccinated. So far today, there have been a further 35 cases confirmed.
The Coordination Center also stated that guests staying at two quarantine hotels, the England Marina Club Hotel and the Sheraton Macau Earth Tower, which only accept asymptomatic patients, will be exempted from hotel accommodation fees – irrespective of whether they are local residents, non-resident employees or tourists.