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Macau closes entertainment venues, casinos stay open

2021-08-04 HKT 16:12
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  • Macau closes entertainment venues, casinos stay open
Macau authorities on Wednesday ordered various types of entertainment venues to close from midnight to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

But casinos will stay open for the time being.

Macau officials have already ordered a "state of immediate prevention" after a family of four were confirmed to have the more infectious Delta variant.

Assessing the risk of an outbreak to be "extremely high", authorities said entertainment venues have to be temporarily closed.

These include cinemas, gyms, bars, nightclubs, karaokes, massage parlours and beauty salons.

Speaking at a press conference, Macau's Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng said he hopes the Covid-19 situation in the city could be brought under control in 14 days for entertainment venues to reopen.

He explained the decision not to shut down casinos, saying they're not linked to the family cluster.

"Why are we closing massage parlours and karaokes? Because people don't wear masks there, therefore we adopt that measure. You won't wear a mask in karaokes, and you won't wear a mask when you are enjoying a massage or sauna," Ho said.

"We have asked casinos to strictly enforce our [infection-control] entry measures, mask-wearing and cleaning policies... If problems happen, we will close them immediately."

The chief executive of the gambling hub was speaking on the day the city started testing all of its 680,000 residents for Covid-19.

With people facing a ban from public transport and venues such as restaurants if they don't take a test within three days, many have rushed to book their tests using the city's health code system.

But system glitches soon prompted people who couldn't make a booking to line up outside the testing centres.

The glitches also meant some people could not access a code that was needed to enter their offices or certain public venues.

Ho apologised for the inconvenience caused, saying authorities are working on fixing the problem.

He also said officials may consider conducting more citywide tests, depending on the results of the first round.

The Macau leader added that officials believe the daughter of the infected family was the likely source and probably contracted the virus on her flight to Xi'an last month as part of an exchange group, as two people who sat on the same row in the flight's previous leg had tested positive.

More than 10 people from the same group were now in Hong Kong or other mainland cities, but there have been no reports of infection so far.