Sports Bureau responds to criticisms for maintaining this year’s Grand Prix

The Sports Bureau (ID) decided to respond today (Friday) to public criticisms that maintaining the 67th Macau Grand Prix this year would increase the risk of local Covid-19 cases, stating that the decision to maintain the event was a “prudent decision” by the Macau SAR Government after considering its economic importance, social interest and assessing the pandemic prevention risks.

The statement comes after comments by some residents that allowing the entry of foreign drivers and their teams could lead to local novel coronavirus cases, even if these participants would still have to present negative tests and complete a 14-day quarantine.

The measures have already led to the possible cancellation of the Macau Motorcycle Grand Prix, as most foreign drivers chose to not participate.

“Regarding the public’s concern that this edition of the Macau Grand Prix could reignite the epidemic, the Macau SAR Government has accumulated experience in preventing the epidemic,” the ID stated.

“In terms of preventive measures for imported cases, all pilots and collaborators from Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as from abroad before entering the territory cannot be sick or considered close contacts and must submit a negative nucleic acid report before the boarding to Macau or entering the territory.”

The ID also noted that even after entering Macau these participants will be directly taken to the designated place for medical observation for a period of 14 days, and undergo at least two nucleic acid tests during this period.

“Only after confirmation of the absence of confirmed cases will these people be allowed to participate in the races,” the ID added.

In terms of preventing the outbreak of an epidemic in the interior, all visitors must display the Health Code, subject to the temperature measurement at the entrance and wear masks, spectators must maintain a certain distance, as well as medical posts will be installed in different areas to treat medical situations in a timely manner.

“All cars and articles involved in the event will also be rigorously disinfected and tested, in order to ensure that the epidemic prevention and control works in this edition are done meticulously,” the ID noted.

The event has also led to some criticisms over the exception granted to the entry of foreign drivers and their teams for the Grand Prix since the entry of non-residents has been banned since March of this year.

The ID also added that he Grand Prix is a “remarkable event with a long history in Macau” and one of its “most important sports and tourist brands”.

“At the moment, the promotion of economic recovery is a priority mission for the Government. Annually, the Grand Prix tests are transmitted to China and the countries and regions abroad via satellite and the internet. Holding the event as planned is an opportunity to positively promote Macau, to show the world that Macau is organizing the event because the region’s epidemic is under control, to regain the confidence and desire of visitors to visit us in order to promote local tourism and providing support to the tourism, hotel and restaurant sectors,” the ID stated.

“In addition, we hope that through the synergetic effects of the GP, it can promote the recovery of the construction, transportation and car repair sectors, boost the economy, create jobs and increase the population’s employment, with a view to minimizing the impact of the epidemic on society and the lives of the population”.