Macau to reopen city as no COVID infections detected for 9 days

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Macau will reopen public services and entertainment facilities, and allow dining in restaurants from Tuesday, officials said, as the world’s largest gambling center reported no COVID-19 cases for nine straight days Wants to return to normalcy after getting it. ,

The government said in a statement on Monday that beauty salons, fitness centers and bars would also be allowed to resume operations.

Health officials will require residents to wear masks when going out and show a negative coronavirus test within three days to enter most places.

“There have been no reported cases of community transmission in Macau for nine consecutive days and the risk of transmission of the coronavirus has been significantly reduced,” the statement said.

The former Portuguese colony has reported nearly 1,800 infections since mid-June, when it was hit by its worst coronavirus outbreak that forced casinos to close and much of the city closed.

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Macau reopened its casinos on 23 July, as authorities began opening up stricter measures that required the closure of most businesses and campuses.

This is the first time Macau has had to deal with the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

More than 90% of Macau’s residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but officials are closely following China’s zero-COVID mandate, which is to contain all outbreaks at almost no cost. tries to stop, unlike the rest of the world which is already living with the virus.

Analysts said Macau’s casinos are open but there is likely to be no business for at least a few weeks, as strict restrictions are still in place.

Sands China, Wynn Macau, MGM China, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings and Melco Resorts are the current six casino license holders in Macau. Their licenses will expire by the end of the year.

They are making losses as they prepare to bid for new licenses in a business that generated $36 billion in revenue in 2019 after COVID curbs slammed the sector last year.

(Reporting by Farah Master and Twinnie Siu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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