Macau’s chief executive has said the territory has no option but to continue to follow China’s policy.
Macau.- It seems there is no chance that Macau could go its own way and abandon China’s zero-Covid policy. Ho Iat Seng, Macau’s chief executive, said during his government policy speed for 2023 at the Legislative Assembly yesterday (November 15) that the territory would continue to follow China’s lead.
He said that overseas visitors would be welcome to the city, but that authorities must maintain the dynamic zero-Covid policy due to ongoing outbreaks. He added that he hoped the situation would improve next year
In October, Liang Wannian, a senior official of the National Health Commission’s Covid-19 response team, suggested that China’s zero Covid-19 policy could continue beyond the first quarter of next year. So far, mainland China is the only place with a basic quarantine-free travel arrangement with Macau.
Ho Iat Seng also mentioned Macau’s ongoing casino licence tender. Although he said he couldn’t share details on the process, he said the new gaming concessionaires would be monitored closely to ensure they fulfill the commitments outlined in concession contracts. He said Macau would gradually stop depending on the gaming industry, hence why bidders were urged to include non-gaming plans.
Authorities have reportedly told operators they will need to invest as much as MOP100bn (US$12.4bn) during the ten-year concessions. This includes funding for international events such as the Macau Grand Prix and the Macau International Marathon. The government will also require licensees to support smaller events organised by local associations and the government.
Ho added that the Macau government would ensure employment stability in the city’s gaming sector and will ensure that more than 85 per cent of top-level management positions in the casino industry are filled by locals. Authorities expect to have the results of the retender ready in time to issue new licences by the end of the year.