As coronavirus rate of infection and death toll continues to climb, Macau’s officials have suspended the gaming industry for at least two weeks as the world steps up its efforts to bring the outbreak under control.
Macau Shuts Down Casino Industry Amid Coronavirus Fears
On Tuesday, Macau’s officials have called for the closure of the special administration region’s casino industry. All facilities will remain closed for at least two weeks as Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered tougher measures on clamping down the outbreak. Macau’s gaming industry is worth some $40 billion.
In an almost dystopian scenario, China has been mobilizing staff, technology and resources to address the issue. Drones have been hovering over the Chinese province of Wuhan and scolding people who don’t wear protective masks. Wuhan is also the place where the virus originated, experts agree.
Hong Kong and Macau Continue to Report Cases of Infection
Meanwhile, the virus has already spread to neighboring Hong Kong where the first death was confirmed after an infected 39-year-old-man passed. Macau for its own part has already reported some 10 cases of infected people, one of whom is a casino personnel. With an incubation period of up to 14 days, the virus could already be spreading around Macau, and the authorities are taking all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of a pandemic.
In an official press statement, Macau’s chief executive Ho Iat Eng announced the latest measure. He acknowledged that the decision was a difficult one, but the health of the residents remained paramount in the government’s decisions.
He assured thatMacau is prepared to bear the economic losses that the temporary closure would entail, hinting at a rather difficult year for the gaming sector ahead, Macau’s main contributor to GDP, or some 80 percent of tax revenue. Ho added that all public services would be suspended bar in the cases of emergencies.
Macau has told citizens not to go outside on any occasions except for food and to always wear protective masks. Proper sanitation is another important aspect of containing the disease and reducing chances of exposure to the virus.
Casino Shares Continue to Depress on the News of Closure
Commenting on the situation, Bernstein, a research firm, said that the immediate impact on the industry would be self-explanatory – no revenue in the next 14 days. Meanwhile, casino shares have continued to fall, with Wynn Macau, Sands China and MGM China bearing the brunt of the present deadlock.
Meanwhile, China has agreed to let U.S. health experts join the fight and help the country contain the virus.