Macau launches third round of Covid-19 testing

Testing required: People queuing for Covid-19 testing in Macau. — Reuters

Macau: The city launched a third round of mandatory Covid-19 testing for its more than 600,000 residents in a push to curb a rise in infections in the world’s biggest gambling hub.

Authorities in Macau have locked down multiple buildings and put more than 5,000 people in quarantine in the past few days, the city’s government said yesterday. Health authorities said 38 new Covid-19 cases were recorded on Sunday, taking the total number of infections to 299 in the latest outbreak.

Two rounds of Covid-19 tests were conducted in Macau in the past week. The latest round is expected to end today.

Authorities have asked people to remain at home as much as possible with most of the city effectively closed, including bars, hair salons and outdoor parks. Only takeaway is allowed from dining facilities.

Casinos, while mostly deserted, are allowed to stay open, the city’s government said, in a move to protect local jobs.

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

Macau adheres to China’s “zero Covid” policy which aims to eradicate all outbreaks, at just about any cost, running counter to a global trend of trying to co-exist with the virus.

Macau’s cases are still far below daily infections in other places, including neighbouring Hong Kong where cases have jumped to close to 2,000 a day this month.

Hong Kong’s outbreak this year saw more than one million confirmed infections, and more than 9,000 deaths. — Reuters

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