Chinese gambling hub Macau shuts businesses for COVID testing


Chinese territory Macau, has on Monday began its second day of mass COVID-19 testing after dozens of locally transmitted cases were discovered over the weekend.

The Chief Executive of Macau in a statement on the government’s website disclosed that the latest outbreak came suddenly and has been spreading rapidly with the source still unknown.

Most businesses have been forced to shut down including banks, schools, government services and other businesses to shut, however, casinos remain open. Most residents have also being asked to stay at home in the meantime.

The testing of Macau’s roughly 600,000 residents is expected to end on Tuesday.

This is Macau’s first major outbreak in eight months, its previous coronavirus outbreak was in October last year. And so far, it has recorded no COVID-19 deaths during the pandemic.

The territory’s swift plan to test its entire population comes as it keeps open the border with mainland China, with many residents living and working in neighbouring Chinese city Zhuhai.

Macau’s legislature is this week due to approve an amended gaming law which will lay the groundwork for what is required from the multi-billion-dollar casino operators so they can continue operating, as its government relies on casinos for over 80 per cent of its income, with most of the population employed directly or indirectly by the casino industry.

“Depending on how quickly Macau is able to get the newest outbreak under control, there is risk of delay to finalisation of the gaming law amendments and subsequent concession tender process,” Vitaly Umansky, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein, said.



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