The Macau government Sunday classified South Korea as a high-prevalence COVID-19 area meaning that travellers who had been in the country 14 days prior to their arrival here have to submit themselves to a medical examination being allowed to enter the city.
Only those given a clean bill of health will be permitted to enter Macau.
The measure, which will take effect at midnight, was announced during the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre’s daily press conference about the viral threat.
South Korea registered 602 cases of COVID-19 with 6 fatalities.
Officials at the press conference pointed out that 43 South Koreans entered Macau on Saturday. They also noted that all flights between Macau and South Korea have already been cancelled for several days until at least March 1.
South Koreans are Macau’s number-one foreign visitor segment. According to official statistics, 743,094 South Koreans visited Macau last year. Mainland Chinese, Hongkongers and Taiwanese together accounted for some 92 per cent of Macau’s visitor arrivals in 2019.
Casino workers’ complaints
Meanwhile, Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau (DICJ) official Vong Chi Fu told the press conference that some casino workers had complained about the lack of facemasks. Vong, who declined to reveal the name of the casino company targeted by the complaint, said that the bureau had meanwhile looked into the complaint and urged the casino management to ensure that its staff members are provided with facemasks during all shifts.
The government said last week that all casino workers and gamblers are required to wear facemasks. A total of 29 of Macau’s 41 casinos reopened on Thursday after a 15-day government-imposed shutdown in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
Vong also said that the bureau received complaints about an excessive number of gamblers placing bets on the same gaming tables, as well as about gaming chips that were not disinfected.
According to Vong, the casino company concerned blamed a lack of disinfectants for the situation, which Vong said had been resolved in the meantime. Vong noted that gamblers tended to crowd around tables perceived as paying out more winnings than others.
The government said last week that no more than “three or four” gamblers should be seated at the same time around a table. It also said that gamblers needed to remain seated when placing their bets.