COVID-19 testing stations in Macau were thrown into chaos this morning as casino employees flocked to conduct nucleic acid tests (NAT) to fulfil new DICJ measures coming into effect on Friday.
As reported by Inside Asian Gaming, the gaming regulator will, from 7am on 1 July, require all people entering Macau’s casinos – including staff, customers and government personnel – to show proof of a negative NAT obtained within the previous 48 hours. Construction workers are similarly required to show proof of NAT in the past 48 hours.
This saw thousands of employees gather at NAT stations, with many casino operators to require their staff to show their 48-hour NAT certificates before going to work. This means casino employees will need to take a NAT every second day until government lifts the requirement.
Videos circulating on Thursday morning showed chaotic scenes as huge crowds of people came together to be tested – making it impossible to stay safely distanced at one meter apart from each other, the usual requirement at NAT testing stations.
IAG understands there are currently seven stations open for testing, well below the more than 50 that have been open in recent days during mass testing of all Macau residents.
One casino employee who attended a testing station on Thursday said, “There was mass testing in the past two days and there was a large number of testing stations in the community, so there was no problem in the past, but today there is no mass testing, other testing stations are closed, and tens of thousands of employees have to crowd the line at the only remaining testing station.
“I queued up at 9am at the Qing Mao Port crossing and took three hours to complete the screening, and queued up for three hours in this hot weather, is the government teasing us?”
Another source IAG spoke to said, “The Macau government is calling on all Macau residents to go out less, but it is asking people to go out and queue up for testing, and even asking casino staff to take a NAT test every two days with very large crowds waiting for hours for the test, doesn’t this contradict what they are calling for?”
To make matters worse, rain has now broken out in Taipa affecting hundreds if not thousands of casino workers trying to get a NAT test to allow them to attend work from tomorrow (Friday). Many workers on the ground are expressing their anger at the situation and video showing the situation is circulating on social media.