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Macau casinos to close for one week amid Covid outbreak

Macau has closed all of its casinos for the first time in over two years following a Covid-19 outbreak in the region.

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Authorities have ordered that non-essential businesses be shut for a week. This includes over 30 casinos, and comes as the city has recorded 1,526 Covid cases since mid-June 2022.

Around 19,000 people have been put in quarantine amid the city’s worst Covid outbreak since early 2020, with schools and entertainment venues such as bars and cinemas already closed under previous guidelines.

Short trips for essential services are, however, allowed. But police will monitor flows of people outside, with stringent punishments expected to be imposed on those who disobey.

On Saturday, Macau’s Government Information Bureau stated that all businesses would be required to cease operations unless they were essential.

The statement read: “All industries and commercial companies and venues in Macao will be required to suspend operation from after the stroke of midnight on 11 July until the stroke of midnight on 18 July 2022 inclusive, except those in three categories of activity deemed essential to the community and to the day-to-day lives of the members of the public.”

Reuters has reported that gaming shares have slipped since the announcement, with shares in Sands China falling by 9%. Shares in Melco International, Wynn Macau, SJM, Galaxy and MGM China dropped between 6% and 7%.

Some analysts have predicted that a recovery in gaming revenue might not take place until the end of the third quarter of 2022, or even during the fourth quarter.

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