China’s Macau Gambling Center closes COVID testing companies Business and economics

Mass tests come after dozens of locally transmitted cases were discovered in the former Portuguese colony.

China’s Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, began its second day of mass testing of COVID-19 on Monday, with banks, schools, government agencies and other businesses forced to close, but casinos remain open.

The testing of about 600,000 Macau residents is expected to end on Tuesday and comes after dozens of locally transmitted cases were discovered over the weekend.

The former Portuguese colony ruled by China adheres to China’s zero-COVID policy. which aims to eradicate all outbreaks at almost any cost, contrary to the global trend of trying to coexist with the virus.

Most residents have been asked to stay at home, restaurants will be closed for dinner and border restrictions have been tightened, meaning casino revenues are likely to be close to zero for at least a week and likely in the coming weeks, analysts said.

The Macau government relies on casinos for more than 80 percent of its revenue, with the majority of the population employed directly or indirectly in the casino industry.

The latest outbreak came suddenly and is spreading rapidly, with the source still unknown, Macau CEO Ho Yat Seng said in a statement on the marketing website.

The previous coronavirus epidemic in Macau was in October last year. An outbreak in Hong Kong’s neighboring China this year has led to more than 1 million confirmed infections and more than 9,000 deaths, flooded hospitals and public services.

Macau has only one public hospital, whose services are already stretched on a daily basis.

This week, Macau’s legislature must approve an amended gambling law that will lay the groundwork for what multibillion-dollar casino operators are required to keep working.

“Depending on how quickly Macau is able to control the latest epidemic, there is a risk of delays in finalizing changes to the gambling law and a subsequent concession tender,” said Vitaly Umansky, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein in Hong Kong.

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