Posted on: August 8, 2022, 5:45 AM.
Last updated: August 8, 2022, 6:28 AM.
The government of Macau on Sunday ordered all residents to undergo daily COVID-19 testing through today. That’s after a person who visited neighboring Zhuhai in mainland China tested positive for the coronavirus this weekend.
A pedestrian walks past an entrance to the Grand Lisboa casino in Macau. The region’s government says the first day of the city’s latest round of mass testing has revealed no additional positive COVID-19 cases. (Image: Reuters)
Government officials from Macau’s Special Administrative Region (SAR) have ordered each of the city’s 600,000 residents to undergo rapid antigen testing on Sunday and Monday to ensure no new outbreak is underway in the enclave.
Residents must upload the results of their two tests to the official government website. Those not at risk of being labeled “red” or “yellow” in the city’s health code online pandemic response system. For residents to enter Macau, they must display a “green” health code status at the border gate.
The Macau Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center announced today that the initial 199,622 test results uploaded to the government’s website and reviewed by health officials did not reveal any COVID-19-positive samples.
The infected person who ventured into Zhuhai last weekend remains in isolation. The apartment building of the infected person and the supermarket where the person works have also been locked.
Macau’s two-day citywide mass test blitz comes less than a week after the SAR moves to quarantine-free travel between Zhuhai. The region’s casinos, which form the backbone of the area’s economy and are responsible for most of the enclave’s employment, were allowed to reopen on July 23 after a government-mandated 12-day shutdown of gambling operations.
Casinos aim for border easing
The lifting of quarantine and medical observation requirements for arriving travelers from Zhuhai would be a major improvement in providing customers in the region’s multi-billion dollar casinos. Macau’s resorts have mainly depended on the mainland for customers for years.
In 2019, the mainland accounted for about 71% of the nearly 40 million travelers who visited Macau. Zhuhai, home to more than 2.4 million people, borders Macau. The city is located on the southern edge of Guangdong Province in the Pearl River Delta.
Macau has had no meaningful visitor traffic for most of 2022. But July was the worst month of the entire pandemic for the casinos, as gross gaming revenue totaled just $49 million. In July 2019 before the pandemic, the casinos took over $3 billion from their gambling customers.
The casinos eagerly await the full results of the two-day test bonanza across the city. Another outbreak and subsequent shutdown — as required under Macau’s “zero-COVID” compliance — would wreak further havoc on an already near-catastrophic situation for the Chinese gaming industry.
Number of current cases
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in Macau that began in mid-June, the region has confirmed about 1,800 infections. Fourteen people remain infected and isolated in medical facilities.
Macau health officials say that if a person tests positive, regardless of their symptoms, they should immediately call an ambulance to be transported to a hospital for monitoring and appropriate isolation. All persons living in the household as the infected person must isolate themselves in a government-approved quarantine place.
“The declarant and the cohabitants must stay at home and patiently wait for them to be transferred to the quarantine site by the designated ambulance,” explains a statement from the Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center. “Relevant nucleic acid tests will be regulated by authorities for all of these.”
This post Macau government says 200K COVID tests are all negative
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