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Published: 12:17, August 01, 2022 | Updated: 15:44, August 01, 2022
Macao to reopen as no COVID infections detected for 9 days
By Agencies
Published:12:17, August 01, 2022 Updated:15:44, August 01, 2022 By Agencies

This file photo dated July 11, 2022 shows the MGM Grand Macau casino resort in Macao. (KONG / AP)

HONG KONG - Macao will reopen public services and entertainment facilities, and allow dining-in at restaurants from Tuesday, authorities said, as the world's biggest gambling hub seeks a return to normalcy after finding no COVID-19 cases for nine straight days.

Beauty salons, fitness centers, and bars too will be allowed to resume operations, the Macao Special Administrative Region government said in a statement on Monday.

Health authorities will require residents to wear masks when they go out and must show a negative coronavirus test within three days to enter most venues

Health authorities will require residents to wear masks when they go out and must show a negative coronavirus test within three days to enter most venues.

"There have been no community infection cases in Macao for nine consecutive days ... and the risk of the spread of the coronavirus has been greatly reduced," it said.

The announcement came as authorities also reported on Monday that July monthly casino revenues dropped 95 percent year-on-year to 0.4 billion patacas ($49.5 million), the lowest on record.

ALSO READ: Macao invites casino license bids from July 29

The SAR has reported around 1,800 infections since mid-June when it was hit with its worst coronavirus outbreak that forced the closure of casinos and locked down most of the city.

Macao reopened its casinos on July 23, as authorities began unwinding stringent measures which required most businesses and premises to shut. More than 90 percent of Macao's residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 but this is the first time that the city has had to grapple with the fast spreading Omicron variant.

While Macao's casinos are open, there is likely to be no business for at least a few weeks, analysts said, due to strict restrictions still in place.

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

READ MORE: Macao sees no new virus cases for 1st time in over a month

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

Also on Monday, the National Health Commission reported that the Chinese mainland had 33 locally-transmitted COVID-19 cases on Sunday, including 15 in Gansu and nine in Guangxi. A total of 244 local asymptomatic carriers were newly identified.

The commission said 137 COVID-19 patients were also discharged from hospitals after recovery, bringing the total number of COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals to 222,690. Sunday saw no new deaths with the toll remaining at 5,226. 


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