Macau’s MGM Cotai casino locked down with guests, staff after Covid-19 case

Government health workers were at the MGM Cotai site and no one is allowed to enter or exit the building. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG - MGM China’s Cotai casino in Macau was locked down on Sunday after a dealer tested positive for Covid-19, city authorities in the world’s biggest gambling hub said, ordering everyone inside to stay put until Nov 1. 

MGM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

But an Oktoberfest festival event Sunday at MGM has been cancelled in order to comply with the government’s pandemic control measures, according to a statement on the hospitality and gaming firm’s Facebook page.  

The closure deals a blow to casino operators who have already been grappling with Covid-19 restrictions for more than 2½ years. 

“Casinos, hotel staff and hotel guests will be quarantined in place immediately,” the city government said in a statement, adding that all stores and restaurants attached to the hotel resort would also remain shut. 

Government health workers were at the MGM Cotai site with no one allowed to enter or exit the building, industry publication Inside Asian Gaming said. The publication said it was not able to immediately verify how many people were inside.

The closure comes after Macau detected its second coronavirus case this month, after having no cases for more than three months.

The infections come just ahead of a planned resumption of inbound tours from mainland visitors in November after a hiatus of more than 2½ years.

All of Macau’s 700,000 residents must take a rapid antigen test for Covid-19 daily from Oct 30 to Nov 1, Macau’s government said in a statement that made no mention of the MGM closure. 

Macau’s casinos have been losing millions of dollars monthly due to coronavirus restrictions as the special administrative region follows China’s “zero-Covid-19” policy, which aims to curb all outbreaks. 

Macau’s six casino operators – Sands China, Wynn Macau, Galaxy Entertainment, MGM China, Melco Resorts and SJM Holdings – are currently awaiting a government decision on whether they will be granted new licences. 

Macau executives said the decision could come as early as this week. REUTERS, BLOOMBERG

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