Published: 14:01, June 24, 2022 | Updated: 18:08, June 24, 2022
Macao seals off some buildings as COVID infections creep up
By Wang Zhan

People visit the Senado Square in Macao, Jan 31, 2022. (XINHUA)

Authorities in Macao have cordoned off several residential buildings as the world's biggest gambling hub tries to contain a rising number of COVID-19 cases.

The special administrative region reported 39 new infections on Friday, bringing the total for its current outbreak to 149, with around a dozen buildings locked down and residents banned from leaving, the local government said in a statement. More than 5,000 people are in quarantine, the government said.

Macao is testing its more than 600,000 residents for the coronavirus for a second time this week. Testing is due to finish on Friday

Macao is testing its more than 600,000 residents for the coronavirus for a second time this week. Testing is due to finish on Friday. 

The city extended its COVID-19 restrictions including the closure of bars, cinemas, hair salons and outdoor parks from Thursday. Casinos are allowed to remain open.

ALSO READ: Macao logs 1st imported virus case of Omicron variant

A makeshift hospital, located next to Macao's Las Vegas modelled Cotai Strip, is also expected to open on Friday.

Macau shut down most of its city, including bars, cinemas, hair salons and outdoor parks on Thursday. Only takeaway is allowed from dining facilities. 

The stringent measures come after Macao has been largely COVID-free since an outbreak in October 2021. It has not previously had to deal with the highly-transmissible Omicron variant.

READ MORE: Macao extends virus shutdown of city, casinos stay open

Macao adheres to the "zero COVID" policy which aims to eradicate all outbreaks to ensure the safety of its residents.

Macao's cases are still far below daily infections in other places, including neighboring Hong Kong where cases have jumped to over 1,000 a day this month.

With Agencies' inputs