Macau considers mass testing due to Covid-19 cases in Guangdong

Mass tesing is being considered by Macau health officials.
Mass tesing is being considered by Macau health officials.

Authorities are worried that the rise in Covid-19 cases in Guandong could affect the city’s economic recovery.

Macau.- The government is beginning to look with concern at the increase in Covid-19 cases in the neighbouring Guangdong Province, fearing that it could affect the slight recovery seen during the Labour Day break.

Authorities implemented quarantine measures for arrivals from Guangdong after new Covid-19 cases were registered. Now health officials are considering testing the entire city.

Lo Iek Long, Macau Health Bureau Director, is analysing if it would be necessary, and possible, to carry out mass testing.

In the last 24 hours, 5,000 people were tested, all of them were negative. However, the city does not want to take risks as casino operators hope the summer holidays will boost revenue.

Lo Iek Long said 650,000 residents could be tested within four days and that he is seriously thinking about moving forward with the measure.

Macau health authorities have imposed a 14-day quarantine on people who have been in the districts of Haizhu, Liwan, Nansha, Panyu or Yuexiu in Guangzhou, or the Nanhai and Chancheng districts of Foshan.

Those who have been in Guangzhou or Foshan in the previous 14 days are required to undergo a nucleic acid test. From June 8, people who want to enter Macau from Guandong must show a Covid-19 negative test issued within 48 hours.

Macau recovery at risk amid new Covid-19 cases in Mainland China

Although Macau GGR was up 24.3 per cent month-on-month in May, it declined in the last week of the month. 

Between May 31 and June 6, tourist entries and exits declined by 22.6 per cent to an average of 40,000 visitors.

Bernstein Research reported GGR of MOP1.35bn (US$169m) during the first week of June, down 26 per cent when compared to the previous week. Analysts predicted GGR for June will be down 30 per cent month-on-month.

Bernstein Research added that Macau’s GGR is usually weak in June when compared to other months. They expect a further recovery within July and August during the summer holiday period.

Morgan Stanley also cut its forecast for Macau gross gaming revenue (GGR) this year by 19 per cent to US$16.3bn.

Previously, analysts had said Macau GGR could reach MOP189bn (US$23.6bn), about 65 per cent of GGR in 2019. However, it’s lowered its forecast to just 45 per cent of 2019 levels, although that would still be an improvement of 115.4 per cent in 2020.

Macau casino operators launch vaccination programmes

Casino operators continue to encourage people to get vaccinated.

Galaxy Entertainment will launch a vaccination point inside its property to vaccinate 1,500 to 1,800 team members and their family members between June 10 and June 12.

All those Galaxy Entertainment employees who get vaccinated with the first and the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will get up to two days of “special vaccine leave” to rest.

Galaxy Entertainment said : “[The company] would like to take this opportunity to encourage team members and the public to work together and show our best in preventing and controlling the pandemic.”

Casino operators MGM China and Sands China have already hosted vaccination servicesMGM saw 1,200 of its employees get vaccinated.

Kenneth Xiaofeng, MGM China President and CFO, stated: “We will continue to talk to the government to see what kind of programmes we might continue to develop.

“We will closely follow the government, directives to make sure more and more employees get the vaccine so that mainland visitors can have more and more confidence in visiting Macau.”

Melco Resorts launched an “immunity incentive programme” to encourage its employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19. It will give each employee a bonus of MOP1,000 (US$125) after getting the vaccine.

Those who get the vaccine could also win MOP1m once the company has reached certain immunity targets.

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Covid-19 Macau casinos