Government closes casinos in Macau to prevent the spread of the coronavirus

5 February 2020

The Macau government has ordered the closure of the 41 casinos in Macau from Wednesday and for the next 15 days in order to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus in Macau.

Horse races at the Jockey Club have also been closed for the same period of time.

A dispatch from the Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng published in the Official Bulletin also ordered the closure of cinemas, theatres, amusement parks, games arcades, internet cafés, billiards and bowling venues, saunas, massage parlours, beauty salons, gyms, health clubs, karaoke venues, nightclubs, cabarets and bars.

The casino sector employs around 57,000 people and represents approximately 75% of government revenues.

The public services of Macau are closed and only open for urgent cases, bus companies have substantially reduced the number of vehicles in circulation and the sea links between Macau and Hong Kong have been suspended, and access to the airport an to the city of Hong Kong is now only available through the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.

The Macau Government employs around 32,000 people.

The health authorities have asked that the entire population use masks in enclosed spaces, particularly buses and have called on residents to remain at home to support efforts to combat the coronavirus epidemic as well not to travel outside the territory.

The government also ordered the closure of all crèches, nurseries, primary and secondary schools and universities until further notice and asked students from mainland China who travel to schools in Macau on a daily basis, to remain at home.

The government has also ensured that there will be no lack of supply of basic foods for the population. Markets and supermarkets are open as well as pharmacies and a few retail establishments.

Banks have reduced their services and Banco Nacional Ultramarino has closed 10 branches and reduced working hours in another 10 but has kept essential services in operation at the headquarters, where the use of masks is now mandatory.

The number of tourists has fallen by around 80% at the entrances in Macau, and people are now only allowed to enter the territory after the completion of a health bulletin.

Visitors from the Chinese province of Hubei, where the outbreak of the epidemic began, can only enter Macau if they present a hospital document stating that they are not infected.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, there have been 10 cases of coronavirus reported in Macau, seven of which were imported from China and three in Macau residents.

Macau has a population of 680,000 people and an area of 32.9 square kilometres, which is a population density of 20,600 inhabitants per square kilometre. (macauhub)