Only days after previous measures eased

Macau to conduct massive testing, reintroduce border restrictions after new Covid-19 case

2022-08-08
Reading time 1:56 min

It was just last week when Macau’s border with the neighboring Chinese city of Zhuhai reopened and Chinese authorities announced the resumption of quarantine-free travel with the gaming hub. However, in a recent turn of events, Macau’s government has ordered all residents to undergo two days of Covid-19 testing, after a person who traveled to Zhuhai tested positive for the virus.

Macau Authorities said in a statement over the weekend that the more than 600,000 residents of the city would be required to take rapid antigen tests on Sunday and Monday and upload the results to a government website. Additionally, residents living near Macau’s border to Zhuhai and the Taipa district, which sits alongside the city's Las Vegas-style Cotai strip, are required to take official nucleic acid tests.

Additionally, Macau Business reports that Zhuhai health authorities have announced that starting Tuesday, all Macau arrivals coming from the land port are only allowed to enter and exit through the port once respectively per day, with the pandemic prevention measure tentatively scheduled to be maintained for one month.

Average daily travel in/out of Macau had recovered gradually to some 6,400 last week, a 771% jump when compared to 734 the previous week. As the worst community outbreak in the city was brought under control, daily visitation gradually approached some 20,000 since August 3, a recovery that could now be again hampered by the new border policies, the cited source says.

The government’s announcement comes just days after Macau began easing its strict pandemic restrictions, and as lockdowns in the Chinese resort island of Hainan over the weekend left tens of thousands of tourists trapped in their hotels.

As per the announcement, authorities have also sealed up the infected person’s apartment building and the supermarket where the person worked, as reported by Reuters.

Macau casinos reopened on June 23, after a nearly two week-shutdown mandated in an effort to stop the spread of Covid-19, and the gaming’s hub border with the Chinese city of Zhuhai reopened on August 3. However, business has reportedly remained slow for the gaming venues, and analysts have estimated the closures could cost the casinos $1 billion.

Due to its reliance on Chinese tourists, and its adherence to a Covid-zero strategy, the city has faced many challenges as of late, reporting recently an all-time gaming revenue low. The city posted July its worst month ever since records began in 2009, with gross gaming revenue falling 95% to 398 million patacas ($49 million), 98% lower than pre-pandemic levels.

During the outbreak, which began on June 18, the gaming hub reported more than 1,800 cases, the biggest flareup for the city, which has just 680,000 residents. In order to curb the outbreak, the government implemented a city-wide lockdown as well as multiple rounds of mass testing. More than 90% of Macau's residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. The city adheres to China's "zero-COVID" policy that aims to curb all outbreaks.  

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