Macau COVID-19 Outbreak Looming, Enclave Health Officials Worry

Posted on: July 26, 2021, 08:54h. 

Last updated on: July 26, 2021, 02:28h.

Macau health officials are voicing concerns that a surge in new COVID-19 cases could be on the horizon because of an outbreak in neighboring Guangdong.

Macau COVID-19 outbreak casino China
A patron earlier this year presents their COVID-19 negative test result at a Macau casino to a security official. Such entry procedures are no longer in place, as area health officials brace for a surge in coronavirus cases. (Image: GGRAsia)

The city of Zhongshan directly borders Macau, one of two Special Administrative Regions (SAR) in China. Home to 3.1 million people, Zhongshan recently confirmed more than 50 local infections of COVID-19. 

The Macau Health Bureau is on high alert as a result. The agency says it believes close contacts of some of the individuals who tested positive have since traveled into the SAR.

The uptick in COVID-19 Guangdong cases is credited to the more contagious delta variant of the coronavirus. The jump comes just a little more than two weeks after Macau eased entry protocols for travelers coming from the province.

Despite the elevated concerns, Macau officials say no reimplementation of border entry requirements is being considered. Visitors arriving at Macau’s gates presently are permitted entry into the enclave so long as they present a negative COVID-19 test issued within the past 48 hours. Guangdong visitors do not have to undergo quarantine or medical supervision upon entry. 

Health Bureau: COVID Outbreak Likely 

A Macau Health Bureau release detailing the spread of COVID-19 infection in Guangdong explains that several close contacts of a confirmed coronavirus patient traveled on a Macau casino bus.

The health department says at least four close contacts of a Zhongshan woman who has the coronavirus went to Macau last week for work-related purposes. Three of the people rode on a Galaxy Macau resort bus while in the enclave. Another took a casino shuttle operated by The Venetian. 

Health officials say all four people have since tested negative for COVID-19, and are now in quarantine. 

Though those four people have not tested positive, the Macau Health Bureau nonetheless says it is “very likely” to see a COVID-19 outbreak. The agency used the notice to continue urging people to receive vaccinations.

Macau Vaccination Rate

According to the latest data, about 43 percent of all people living in Macau have received at least one COVID-19 vaccination. Roughly 32 percent have been fully vaccinated.

Workers inside casinos, however, are being vaccinated at far higher rates. More than 6,000 people employed by one of the six commercial casino operators received vaccines during a vaccination drive in June. 

Wynn Macau reported this week that over half of its workforce is now fully vaccinated. Galaxy Entertainment says more than 12,000 of its staffers and their relatives have received vaccinations. Sands China says 10,000 of its team member and families have also received immunity shots.

Melco Resorts hosted a “Get the Jab” campaign last month. The Studio City and City of Dreams owner-operator said nearly 2,400 people received a dose during the June 18-20 immunization drive.

For those hesitant to receive COVID-19 vaccines, Macau casino operators have made doctors and infectious disease experts available for consultation.