Covid-19-hit Macau reopens beaches but bans swimming

Macau is gradually recovering from its most serious outbreak to date. PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG (AFP) - Macau beachgoers were left high and dry as the Chinese gambling hub reopened two beaches on Saturday (July 30) but banned swimming and water sports, citing coronavirus concerns.

The city is gradually recovering from its most serious outbreak to date, which earlier this month led officials to shutter casinos and most businesses for nearly two weeks.

As temperatures reached 34 deg C on Saturday, Macau residents were allowed to "enter the beach for walks and relaxation" but officials drew a line in the sand by banning water-based activities.

Beachgoers must "at all times wear masks of the right specification, maintain social distancing, avoid gathering in crowds and refrain from strenuous exercise", the government said.

Families flocked to Macau's Hac Sa beach on Saturday morning, with one beachgoer expressing understanding for the restrictions, public broadcaster Teledifusao de Macau reported.

The city on Wednesday reported no new infections for the first time since the outbreak began in mid-June, with a total of just over 1,800 cases recorded during this coronavirus wave.

Macau strictly enforces anti-epidemic regulations, with one would-be beachgoer fined 3,000 patacas (S$512) last week after driving onto Hac Sa against regulations, according to local media.

Macau adheres to China's zero-Covid-19 policy, which quashes outbreaks with strict lockdowns, border controls and social distancing measures.

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