Macau to hold mass testing after finding 12 cases of Covid-19

In a photo taken on March 5, 2019, visitors take photos outside the Wynn casino resort in Macau. PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Macau's government will undertake mass Covid-19 testing of residents over the next three days after finding 12 Covid-19 infections in the community, the first in more than 250 days.

Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture Ao Ieong U urged non-essential businesses to close and called on residents to stay at home. Testing would be conducted from noon Sunday (June 19) to noon June 21, Ms Au said at a briefing in the city.

Schools will be suspended until further notice.

The government urged residents "not to panic buy" and said there would be adequate supplies of food and essential goods, according to the latest government announcement posted on its Facebook page Sunday.

Authorities are sill investigating the source of the infections after uncovering some of the cases during the lockdown of a building where residents were tested, city health officials said at Sunday's briefing.

Four of the 12 people displayed Covid-19 symptoms, they said.

The mass testing comes after the city last week eased quarantine requirements for arrivals from Hong Kong, Taiwan and other places.

Authorities cut the isolation period to 10 days from 14, plus seven days of self monitoring.

The number of visitors to Macau plunged 24 per cent in April from a year earlier after a 30 per cent decline in March.

Revenue for the city's key casino industry dropped 68 per cent in May to 3.34 billion patacas (S$573 million) as China tightened travel restrictions during a record Covid outbreak.

On Saturday, Macau officials announced the city would entered an "immediate state of Covid-19 prevention" from Sunday after a preliminary positive case was detected in the community.

Macau is facing significant risk of Covid-19 transmission and outbreak in the community, the government said at midnight on Sunday.

The territory's chief executive has invoked relevant regulations to order the city into a preventive state from 1am local time, it added.

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