In response to a sharp rise in infections, including the first local cases of the Omicron variant, authorities have raised the alert status of the Philippines’ capital city to level 3, the third highest of the East Asian country’s five-tier alert system.
While certain businesses may remain open at level 3, albeit with limited capacity, casinos are not counted among them and will be forced to shut.
According to Asia Gaming Brief, Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles said: “The epidemiological investigation on the three local cases indicate there is high possibility of local transmission of Omicron. In the coming days, we might see an increase in active cases.”
Manila is a major gambling hub and is known for its Entertainment City complex that hosts several large gaming facilities, such as Solaire Resort and Casino, City of Dreams Manila and Okada Manila.
While the rest of the Philippines will remain at level 2, the detection of the country’s first three local cases of the Omicron variant prompted Manila officials to tighten restrictions.
In a statement published on 31 December 2021, the country’s Department of Health announced that it had identified the three local cases, as well as seven imported cases of Omicron. Of the local cases, one was a 42-year-old male from Metropolitan Manila.
“This holiday season, we continue to remind local government units to conduct active case finding to identify cases and clusters. They may also implement granular lockdowns as needed,” said Health Secretary and Inter-Agency Task Force (ITAF) Chairman Francisco T. Duque III.