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Published: 10:16, July 04, 2022 | Updated: 13:44, July 04, 2022
Macao reports first deaths, launches more COVID testing
By Agencies
Published:10:16, July 04, 2022 Updated:13:44, July 04, 2022 By Agencies

Medical workers from the mainland arrive in Macao on July 3, 2022 to assist the Macao Special Administrative Region government in carrying out mass COVID-19 testing. (CHEONG KAM KA / XINHUA)

HONG KONG – Macao kicked off a new round of city-wide COVID-19 testing on Monday for its more than 600,000 residents, as officials raced to contain a spiraling number of cases in the worst outbreak to hit the world's biggest gambling hub since the pandemic began.

Coronavirus testing for all residents will take place three times this week across the city, with people also required to take rapid antigen tests in-between.

READ MORE: Macao reports 12 local COVID-19 cases, closes schools

Total 650 medical workers from the mainland have arrived in the special administrative region to assist the government in carrying out mass testing, according to the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center of Macao.

As of Saturday, 784 people had tested positive in the latest outbreak in the Macao SAR since June 19, with 467 of them being asymptomatic 

Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center, Macao

The move comes as Macao reported first COVID-19-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. Two women aged 94 and 100 died after testing positive for COVID-19. Both of them had had chronic diseases, the center reported on Sunday.

The Macao health authorities registered 90 new cases on Saturday, of which 43 were asymptomatic.

As of Saturday, 784 people had tested positive in the latest outbreak in the Macao SAR since June 19, with 467 of them being asymptomatic, the center said.

While Macao has not introduced a full-scale lockdown seen in the Chinese mainland cities like Shanghai, all non-essential government services are shut, schools, parks, sports and entertainment facilities are closed and restaurants can only provide takeaway.

Casinos are allowed to remain open but most staff have been asked to stay home, in line with instructions to the city's residents. 

The government said it would not shut casinos to protect jobs.

ALSO READ: Macao tightens control due to nearby cities' COVID outbreak

The stringent measures come after Macao has been largely COVID-free since an outbreak in October 2021.

Macao adheres to China's "zero-COVID" policy which aims to eradicate all outbreaks. Its cases are still far below daily infections in other places.

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