HONG KONG (Reuters) – Authorities in Macau reported no new COVID-19 infections on Wednesday for the first time since mid-June, after the city’s worst outbreak of the disease shut down casinos for 12 days and the closure of most of the largest gaming center in the world.
The number of infections since June 18 stands at 1,816, the government said in a statement, as the city grapples with the fast-spreading Omicron variant for the first time.
“No additional positive cases were reported in Macau in the 24 hours of yesterday,” it said on its website.
Macau’s casinos reopened last week as it began to lift strict measures that had shuttered most businesses and premises. All casinos were closed on July 11 for the first time in more than two years.
But cinemas, health clubs and beauty salons remain closed, with daily coronavirus testing required for the population of more than 600,000. They must also stay at home except for urgent tasks, such as work and errands, the government said.
More than 90% of residents are fully vaccinated, but authorities are following China’s zero COVID program to curb all outbreaks at almost any cost, unlike efforts in the rest of the world, which is living with the virus. .
Casinos, although open, are seeing little business as restrictions slowly ease. They are racking up losses before bidding next month for new licenses in an industry that generated $36 billion in revenue in 2019, the last year before COVID restrictions.
(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)