Macau outbreak: More than 700 people locked inside casino after Covid cases detected

More than 700 people were locked inside a hotel and casino resort in one of the world’s biggest gambling hubs Macau, China, following a coronavirus outbreak on the premises, according to local reports.

According to local broadcaster TDM, police officers arrived in protective gear sealed at the Fortuna complex to prevent people from entering or leaving. Government officials were also preparing COVID-19 tests for the hundreds of people inside.

The lockdown comes as the Chinese special administrative region has ordered two-day mass testing of its more than 600,000 population after dozens of locally transmitted coronavirus cases were discovered over the weekend.

The citywide mass testing, which is expected to take place until Tuesday, had covered almost 340,000 people by Monday morning.

The city, which neighbours Hong Kong, has recorded 31 positive cases as of June 20, 2022. The government, which adheres to mainland China’s strict zero-Covid policy, has ordered parks, businesses and restaurant dining to close temporarily.

The news has already sent stocks of major Macau casino operators tumbling. Sands China fell as much as eight per cent while Wynn Macau dropped more than seven per cent, though both partially recovered.

A Bloomberg Intelligence index of Macau’s six major casino operators fell as much as five per cent, taking their total losses this year to 28 per cent.

Though the number of cases is comparatively low in Macau, the government believes that a chain of transmission discovered on Saturday posed an “extremely high” risk of community transmission.

Macau’s casinos usually account for about 80 per cent of government revenue and more than half of the city’s gross domestic product, with nearly a fifth of the working population employed by the industry.

Almost all gambling is forbidden in mainland China, but it is permitted in Macau, a former Portuguese colony that boasts a casino industry bigger than Las Vegas.

(With inputs from agencies)


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