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Grand Lisboa sealed off after Covid cases found

2022-07-06 HKT 11:57
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  • The Grand Lisboa is the second casino hotel in Macau to be locked down in recent weeks. File photo: AFP
    The Grand Lisboa is the second casino hotel in Macau to be locked down in recent weeks. File photo: AFP
Macau has locked down the Grand Lisboa, one of the city's most famous hotels, after more than a dozen Covid-19 cases were found there on Tuesday, as infections spread in the world's biggest gambling hub.

At least 16 other buildings across the special administrative region are also locked down with no one allowed to exit or enter.

Authorities reported 146 new infections on Wednesday taking the total to more than 1,000 cases since mid-June. More than 14,000 people are in quarantine as the city battles to contain its biggest outbreak since the pandemic began. Macau had largely been Covid-free since an outbreak in October 2021.

The Grand Lisboa is the second casino hotel locked down in recent weeks. Macau authorities put the hotel in its “List of Red Code Zones” on Tuesday, with an expected reopening date of July 11.

Owned by SJM Holdings, which was started by the late Stanley Ho, the Lisboa is one of the city's most well-known landmarks.

Most facilities in Macau are shut and restaurants can only provide takeaway. Residents have been asked to stay at home as much as possible and are required to take part in three citywide Covid-19 tests this week. People are also required to take rapid antigen tests in-between.

Only Macau's casinos have been allowed to stay open in a move to ensure job security. The government relies on the industry for more than 80 percent of its tax revenue with most of the population employed directly or indirectly by the casino resorts.

While casinos are physically open, there are few patrons inside and only a small number of staff, with many employees asked to stay at home to comply with the government's request.

Macau still has an open border with the mainland, with its economy firmly hinged to the inflow of Chinese visitors. (Reuters)
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Last updated: 2022-07-06 HKT 15:35