Macao leader asks casinos to shut over virus fears

Macao leader asks casinos to shut over virus fears”

The decision to close the casino venues in the gambling territory has come following confirmation of the tenth case of the virus that has so far killed over 400 people in China, while tens of thousands of people have been infected.

It follows seven confirmed outbreaks in Macau of the new 2019-nCoV Coronavirus, a strain similar to the SARS virus that claimed hundreds of lives a decade and a half ago.

Ho Iat-seng, the Chief Executive of Macau, said: "This is a hard decision but we have to do it, for the health of our Macau residents".

He, however, warned that if the virus continued to spread, the casino closures could be extended. Mr. Today, the health authorities revealed two other cases of fresh infection, one of which is a woman working in the local gambling sector.

GGRAsia has asked the city's six casino operators for details regarding their respective accommodation arrangements for their non-resident workers that live outside Macau, but did not receive a reply by the time the story went online.

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Ho urged the residents of the former Portuguese colony not to leave home unless necessary.

The exact timings for the reopening of casinos have not been announced.

Macau hasn't cut its land boundary with mainland China.

Gambling has been permitted in Macau since the 1850s when it was legalised by the Portugese government. Reportedly, the number of Macau visitors has suffered a sharp 80% decline in the past week. He added that, while there will be a fiscal deficit and a loss of gaming revenue for the fiscal year, there are enough tax reserves to help support the island's economy. However, he did say that some of the checkpoints might be closed. This measure has already been enacted in Hong Kong.

According to the release, non-resident workers that are considered "essential" for the company's operations should be provided a temporary residence within the city; those that perform "non-essential tasks" are advised to remain in Zhuhai and should only return to Macau once the coronavirus outbreak is "under control". I hope everyone will wear a mask no matter where you go, supermarkets or wet markets. Don't be careless. Don't take it lightly, ' he said.

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