Macau launches third round of Covid testing

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

Officials during a media briefing said they discovered 96 new Covid cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections of the current outbreak to 357, and that 269 of them were asymptomatic.

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

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 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.

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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.

Macau has one public hospital, with its services already stretched on a daily basis. The territory's swift plan to test its population comes as it keeps open the border with mainland China, with many residents living and working in the adjoining city of Zhuhai. (Reuters)
Last updated: 2022-06-27HKT 17:45

Artmotion China

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