Macau COVID-19 on the Rise; 21 Cases at City’s Only Public Hospital Since Latest Outbreak

Macau continues to be unable to rid itself of COVID-19 and, at the rate it’s going, doesn’t have an easy way out. The number of positive cases is on the rise in the casino hub, despite major efforts to quell a new outbreak.

Macau COVID-19 testing
Macau COVID-19 testing
Macau residents wait in line to receive their COVID-19 test. The latest outbreak isn’t slowing down, which could hurt casinos. (Image: South China Morning Post)

On Monday, there were 852 COVID-19 patients in the city, an increase of 68 from the day before. At the time, that was a good sign, as it was a decline of 90 new cases from Sunday.

However, the drop didn’t last. The newest report from Macau’s Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Center (NCRCC), as of this writing, indicates that there are 941 COVID-19 patients. The number is on the rise once again.

COVID-19 Winning the Battle

June was the worst month for Macau’s casinos this year so far, but things could get worse. Businesses have already begun to close their doors, although the city, until now, has not mandated the closure of casinos.

On Monday, 23 of the new cases were found among people already under quarantine, with the other 66 cases in the wild. There have been mass testing sites erected; however, the government has had second thoughts because these could also become concentrated centers to spread the virus.

The NCRCC also reported on Monday that 40 people at the Shoppes at Four Seasons tested positive for COVID-19. As a result, the shopping center shut down that evening and will remain closed until July 10.

While Macau has had to deal with massive closures over the past couple of years due to COVID-19, it avoided one grim statistic. No one had died from the disease.

However, that changed this past weekend. Two patients, one 94 years old and the other 100, passed away from existing illnesses exacerbated by the onset of the coronavirus.

In an effort to help control the spread of the virus, casinos have reduced their operations. This follows a request by the government, with gaming properties now operating at only around 10% of where they were a month ago.

As a result of all of the issues, analysts paint a bleak picture for the second quarter. JP Morgan states that the outbreak and the weak performance in June will lead to negative earnings for all operators in the period.

Sanford C. Bernstein highlighted that the average daily volume of travel from June 17, the start of the latest outbreak, and June 29 has dropped considerably. Compared to the same period last year, it is off by 77%.

Breakout at Local Hospital

When the NCRCC revealed its latest numbers on Monday, it included a startling statistic. Of the positive cases since June 18, 21 were at the Conde S. Januario Hospital. Among these were doctors, nurses and cleaning staff.

That facility is the only public hospital in Macau. While the city has contingencies in place to deal with health and medical catastrophes, it is still a potentially disruptive event that could alter how the SAR manages its daily activity for the next few months.

In addition to the chaos COVID-19 is causing the gaming, health and commercial sectors, financial services are suffering, too. Macau’s banks will only offer limited attention for the next few days and only one-third of all banks will be open. Moreover, they will operate only from 10 AM to 4 PM, with reduced capacity that will create difficulty for consumer and business transactions.

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