China’s gambling hub Macau shuts down amid COVID-19 outbreak but casinos remain open

China’s gambling hub Macau shuts down amid COVID-19 outbreak but casinos remain open

The world’s biggest gambling hub, Macau, has begun a second day of mass COVID-19 testing after dozens of locally transmitted cases were discovered over the weekend.

Banks, schools, government services and other businesses have been shut, but casinos remain open.

The testing of Macau’s roughly 600,000 residents is expected to end on Tuesday as the Chinese-ruled former Portuguese colony adheres to China’s “zero COVID” policy aimed to eradicate all outbreaks.

Most residents have been asked to stay home, restaurants have been shut to dine-in customers, and border restrictions have been tightened, meaning casino revenue is likely to be close to zero for at least a week and likely the coming weeks, analysts say.

Shares in Macau casinos tumbled on Monday morning, with Sands China leading the slide, falling more than 8 per cent — the biggest decline since March 15.

Shares in five other casinos dropped between 4 and 7 per cent.

Macau’s government relies on casinos for over 80 per cent of its income, with most of the population employed directly or indirectly by the casino industry.

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