HONG KONG (Reuters) – Authorities in Macau reported no new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday for the first time since mid-June, after the city’s worst outbreak of the disease led to a 12-day closure of casinos and locked down most of the world’s biggest gambling hub.
The tally of infections since June 18 stood at 1,816, the government said in a statement, as the city grapples with the fast-spreading Omicron variant for the first time.
“No additional positive cases were reported in Macau within 24 hours yesterday,” it said on its website.
Macau’s casinos re-opened last week, as it began unwinding stringent measures that had shut most businesses and premises. All casinos were shut on July 11 for the first time in more than two years.
But cinemas, health clubs and beauty parlours remain shut, with daily coronavirus tests required of the population of more than 600,000. They must also stay home except for urgent tasks, such as work and shopping, the government has said.
More than 90% of residents are fully vaccinated but authorities are following China’s zero-COVID programme of curbing all outbreaks at almost any cost, contrary to efforts in the rest of the world, which is living with the virus.
Casinos, though open, are seeing little business as the curbs unwind slowly. They are racking up losses ahead of bidding next month for new licenses in an industry that earned revenue of $36 billion in 2019, the last year before COVID curbs.
(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)