Macau, China’s gambling hub, shuts businesses for coronavirus testing | Business & Economics

The mass testing comes after dozens of locally transmitted cases were identified in the former Portuguese colony.

The Chinese territory of Macau, the world’s largest gambling hub, began a second day of mass COVID-19 testing on Monday, with banks, schools, government services and other businesses forced to close, but casinos remained open.

Testing of some 600,000 residents in Macau is expected to end on Tuesday after dozens of locally transmitted cases were detected over the weekend.

Former Portuguese colony under Chinese rule insists China’s “Zero Epidemic” Policy The aim is to eradicate all outbreaks at all costs, which goes against the global trend of trying to coexist with the virus.

Analysts say most residents have been asked to stay home, restaurants will be closed for dine-in and border restrictions have been tightened, meaning casino revenue could be near zero for at least a week and likely for the next few weeks.

The Macau government relies on casinos for more than 80% of its revenue, and most of the population is directly or indirectly employed in the casino industry.

Macau’s chief executive, Ho Iat Seng, said in a statement on the government’s website that the recent outbreak broke out suddenly and spread rapidly, with the source still unknown.

Macau’s last coronavirus outbreak was in October last year. More than 1 million confirmed infections and more than 9,000 deaths have erupted in neighbouring Chinese territory Hong Kong this year, flooding hospitals and public services.

There is only one public hospital in Macau, and daily services are already tight.

Macau’s legislature is set to approve a revised gaming law this week that will lay the groundwork for everything the multi-billion-dollar casino operator needs to continue operating.

“Depending on how quickly Macau can control the latest outbreak, the finalization of amendments to the gaming law and the subsequent concession bidding process may be delayed,” said Vitaly Umansky, an analyst at Sanford C Bernstein in Hong Kong.

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