Posted on: October 30, 2022, 12:28h.
Last updated on: October 30, 2022, 12:28h.
MGM Cotai is on lockdown after a casino croupier tested positive over the weekend for COVID-19.
MGM Cotai guests and staff have since been isolated inside the sprawling integrated resort south of downtown Macau. Hundreds of people are reportedly inside the Cotai casino operated by US-based gaming giant MGM Resorts International’s Chinese subsidiary MGM China Holdings Limited.
In compliance with the Macau Special Administrative Region Government of Pandemic Prevention and Control, our restaurants, spa, gym, swimming pool, and retail shops in MGM Cotai are closed and shuttle bus service for MGM Cotai is suspended until further notice. We apologize for any inconvenience,” the casino said in a statement.
MGM Cotai went on lockdown around noon China Standard Time today after a 43-year-old female casino dealer tested COVID positive. The employee had reportedly tested negative on Oct. 24 and Oct. 26, but a third test result conducted Sunday came back positive.
The casino’s planned Oktoberfest celebration for Sunday, a food and drink festival, was subsequently canned.
Mass Testing Again Underway
Macau this weekend embarked on yet another city-wide mass testing blitz after at least a handful of people recently tested positive for the virus. The new cases are Macau’s first positive infections in more than three months.
With Macau in accordance with mainland China’s “zero-COVID” policy that initiates restrictive response policies in the wake of new cases, the enclave is taking no chances in potentially allowing a more widespread outbreak to ensue. The city has ordered all of its 700,000 residents to undergo self-administered rapid antigen COVID-19 testing daily from Oct. 30 until at least Tuesday, Nov. 1.
Residents must upload their test results to the city-managed Macau Health Code internet application.
Macau has also reinstituted mandatory COVID-19 testing requirements for both inbound and outbound travelers at the enclave’s border gates. The validity of a test has been shortened in half to just 24 hours from collection.
“The measure will be temporary for five days. If the epidemic situation stabilizes, from Nov. 5 passengers will resume holding negative nucleic acid test certificates within 48 hours,” a statement from the Macau government explained.
Group Travel Key
Macau casinos are eagerly awaiting the resumption of electronic visas through China’s Individual Visit Scheme (IVS), which is how most travelers ventured to the enclave before the pandemic. The IVS program is essential to keeping Macau casinos bustling, but it has been on hold for more than two years.
Macau officials are certainly expecting a return to pre-pandemic visitation levels. Macau’s Civil Aviation Authority last week received Beijing’s blessing to expand its Macau International Airport by about 130 hectares of reclaimed land.
The airport expansion project will allow the facility to accommodate as many as 15 million passengers a year. In 2019, the hub welcomed about 9.6 million air travelers.
“The expansion of the airport will consolidate the position of Macau as a world tourism and leisure hub and diversify the economic market, thereby enhancing the competitiveness of Macau International Airport in the Pearl River Delta Region,” a Civil Aviation Authority release read.