ccording to the city’s tourism office, the number of Chinese visitors to Macau fell 80 percent on Sunday —the third day of the holiday— compared with the equivalent day during last year's Lunar New Year break, threatening the outlook for casino operators.
For the first three days of the holiday, arrivals were down 66 percent, the data show.
That's a blow for an economy that is reliant on the gambling industry and comes after casinos suffered their worst year since 2015.
At least 80 people have died in mainland China from the virus, which started in Wuhan city, while confirmed cases have jumped to more than 2,700, the Straits Times reports.
Macau officials have extended school holidays until Feb 10 to help stop the spread of the illness.
Macau's leader Ho Iat Seng said on Thursday (Jan 23) that he couldn't rule out closing all casinos in the city due to the disease outbreak, according to a Radio Television Hong Kong report.
Wynn Resorts plunged 11 percent in U.S. trading last week, while Wynn Macau sank 13 percent in Hong Kong. Sands China dropped more than percent.
Hong Kong's markets are closed for holidays until Wednesday (Jan 29).
President Xi Jinping last month during a visit to Macau praised the city's government for maintaining stability while stressing the former Portuguese enclave needed to diversify its economy.
Unlike restive Hong Kong, Macau has long been seen as more loyal to Communist Party rule. Gambling accounts for 80 per cent of the local government's annual revenue. In China, box office sales plunged to about 6.1 million yuan (S$1.2 million) over the first three days of the holiday, compared with 2.3 billion yuan in the year-earlier period, according to Maoyan Movie data.