Macau Health Officials Claim More Than 700K COVID-19 Tests Negative

Posted on: August 9, 2021, 10:44h. 

Last updated on: October 5, 2021, 10:16h.

The Macau Health Bureau said today that the more than 700,000 COVID-19 tests conducted in recent days have all come back negative for the coronavirus. 

Macau casino COVID-19 China
Macau residents wait in long lines to undergo COVID-19 testing last week. The Chinese enclave, home to the world’s richest casinos, says none of the tests came back positive. (Image: Xinhua)

Following a family of four being diagnosed with COVID-19 last week, Macau underwent a region-wide testing blitz to determine the scope of the spread. Health officials said the family’s adult-aged daughter contracted the virus while visiting Guangdong. 

Macau ordered numerous entertainment businesses to close during the testing, including movie theaters, concert halls, gyms, and bars. But casinos, responsible for keeping Macau’s economy running, have been allowed to continue operating. 

The Macau government ordered all residents of the Chinese Special Administrative Region (SAR) to undergo a nucleic acid test between August 3 and August 8. Local authorities claim zero positive coronavirus infections were identified during the massive operation. 

Macau says it tested a total of 716,251 people over the past week. The government reveals that 2,259 Macau residents failed to receive testing. Those individuals are being urged to undergo a test as soon as possible or be subject to a mandatory 14-day medical quarantine. 

More Testing Possible

Dr. Tai Wa Hou is the clinical director of Macau’s Public Hospital, president of the Macau Physician Association and representative of the Macau Health Bureau. He explained that, for now, no further testing is planned. But that certainly isn’t off the table should close contacts of the infected family test positive. 

“We will not launch the second round of mass testing if all close contacts, their close contacts, general contacts, and those who hold red or yellow health code are not infected with the virus,” Tai acknowledged yesterday. 

Tai conceded that more testing would better detect potential transmission that was not discovered during the recent assessment.

Carrying out the second round of mass testing is certainly more effective in smoking out the invisible transmission chain,” Tai explained. 

This month’s mass COVID-19 testing in Macau was the first for the Chinese SAR. The enclave’s freedom to close its borders and lockout foreigners has allowed the region to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the area. Since the onset of the pandemic, Macau has confirmed only 63 cases and no deaths linked to the disease.

Casino Win Retracts

Macau’s borders remaining closed to everyone other than those arriving from mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. That continues to inhibit gambling inside SAR casinos. Gross gaming revenue (GGR) in July was down nearly 64 percent from the same month in 2019.

August isn’t looking any better. 

Gaming analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein reported today that GGR is down 48 percent in the first eight days in August, compared with the final week in July. The brokerage said the downturn in casino revenue “was caused by the travel disruptions after Macau detected four local COVID-19 cases.”

Sanford estimates that Macau casinos won approximately MOP125 million (US$15.6 million) per day August 1-8. That’s the lowest daily revenue since late September 2020.