Macau orders closure of entertainment venues, mass-testing
Macau authorities on Wednesday ordered the closure of entertainment venues but not casinos, and coronavirus tests for its 600,000 residents, after the gambling city confirmed four new infections.
The closure covers cinemas, theaters, gyms, bars, massage parlors, nightclubs, and karaoke places.
The city also plans to test some 600,000 residents after a family of four tested positive for the more infectious Delta coronavirus variant. The mass testing is expected to last three days.
Authorities are investigating whether the daughter of the family contracted the virus on a flight from Zhuhai to Xi'an in China's mainland in July, Macau's leader Ho Iat-seng said on Wednesday.
The same flight carried two other infected people from Nanjing, the center of the latest Delta-variant outbreak in China.
Long queues formed early Wednesday outside testing centers and the city's health app crashed, local media reported.
Ho said if there are no new infections in the next 14 days, normal economic activities will resume.
Macau has reported only 59 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with no deaths. It had recorded 491 days without a single local infection.
The new cases have sparked concern about the economy of the city that is heavily reliant on tourism. It is the only Chinese city where casinos are legal. Since the pandemic began, casinos and hotels have been hit hard as travel restrictions led to a drastic reduction in the number of affluent visitors.
The city ordered a shutdown of all casinos for two weeks when the virus was first detected last year, causing a loss of US$937 million, according to an estimate by the University of Macau.
Revenues have climbed this year as some of the border restrictions with China's mainland were relaxed but they remain well below pre-pandemic levels.