An outbreak of the COVID-19 virus continues to grow in Macau, with 100 confirmed cases. Within the affected population are two casino dealers. Those affected have been assigned to groups of cases based on location. The Novel Coronavirus Response Coordination Center says the majority of cases are asymptomatic.
Lockdown Zones and Inbound Tourism
Because of the onset of the virus in Macau once again, precautions are being taken to try and slow the spread. There are currently 12 lockdown zones known as red code and five yellow code zones. Almost 3,000 people are located in these areas.
As far as tourism is concerned, the numbers are down due to the outbreak. This week, on Tuesday, the number of inbound individuals was only 330. This is a drop of over 99% from the daily average reported in 2019.
Leong Iek Hou, the Head of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Macau, stated that five of the confirmed cases were individuals who worked in casinos. One individual was an executive while two were dealers. One worked as a member of the cleaning staff and the other a table manager.
Another round of mass testing will take place today through midnight on Friday, June 24. The public just completed rapid testing and now NAT testing will occur. Lo stated that the first test found confirmed patients and RAT tests are not as accurate as NAT tests. The goal is to ensure that no other individuals are affected and quarantine those who are.
No Casino Closures Yet
With the current outbreak and the past actions of Macau officials, one would think that the casinos would be closed once again, but that is not the case. Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng stated that casinos will not be closing across the board. During a recent press conference, Seng said that a COVID-Zero policy will be instituted, and co-existing with the virus is not ideal.
During the conference, several journalists asked if casinos would close. Seng stated that the government will not close all casinos at once, at least for now. Casinos will only be considered for closure if they have confirmed patients with COVID-19.
We should know more after this most recent round of testing. If more cases pop up, especially within a casino environment, it would not be surprising to see that venue shut down for a short period of time. Officials feel that the NAT tests will give a better count of how many people are actually affected by the virus and decisions will be made at that point as to how to move forward and avoid any more infections.