Macau's Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng on Thursday ordered the closure of a range of venues – including cinemas, theatres, game centres, gyms, facial parlours, karaokes, bars, nightclubs, hair salons, swimming pools and internet cafes – from 5pm, in a bid to contain the Covid-19 outbreak.
Restaurants have also been banned from providing dine-in services at any time of the day.
Ho told a news conference that the current outbreak is severe and complicated, involving the infectious Omicron sub-variant BA.5.1.
But he reassured people that the pandemic situation is still under control, and appealed for cooperation, support and unity from residents.
He stressed the supply of food and daily necessities in the gambling hub remain stable, and there’s no need for people to stock up.
Asked why casinos are allowed to remain open, Ho said the government had come to a consensus with casino operators in 2020 that an across-the-board closure would not happen again.
"Before we had the PCR tests, we could only order an across-the-board closure. With PCR tests now, we can identify clearly which casino is problematic," he said.
"An across-the-board closure will affect the livelihood of many Macau residents who work at casinos."