Macau confirmed two new local COVID-19 cases today at a 9am press conference on Saturday as the SAR announced it had entered a “state of immediate prevention” from midnight at the start of Saturday 25 September, while Zhuhai has announced the validity period of virus tests for the purpose of crossing the Macau-Zhuhai border has been further shortened to 24 hours, after last night being shortened from 7 days to 48 hours.
Zhuhai, which is slated to hold the annual “China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition” from 28 September to 1 October, has announced all individuals entering Zhuhai from 6am on 26 September to midnight at the start of 29 September will be quarantined for 14 days.
The SAR government immediately launched a 72-hour compulsory testing blitz commencing 3pm Saturday 25 September to 3pm on Monday 28 September. All residents and visitors must undertake the test during this period. The government has not closed gaming floors or entertainment venues, although all cultural and tourist events have been cancelled.
The Secretary for Social and Cultural Affairs, Ao Ieong U, said the government would decide whether to close entertainment venues and/or gaming floors after the results for all testing samples in lockdown areas are finalized. So far, all tests in the relevant red lockdown and yellow zones have returned negative results.
The two new local cases (cases 65 and 66) are security guards of the designated quarantine hotel – Golden Crown China near the Macau airport – of case 64, a Macau resident who returned from Turkey on 18 September and was quarantined on the 10th floor of the hotel, and was confirmed with a positive COVID-19 test on Friday 24 September. The two security guards had worked on the same floor, and were believed to be infected by the imported patient.
Two residential areas at Avenida de Horta e Costa and Rua da Palmeira on the Macau peninsula, where the two security guards lived, have been declared red zones and locked down, with residents not allowed to leave.
This is the second time Macau has undergone a 72-hour compulsory mass COVID-19 test, the prior occasion being from 9am on 4 August to 9am on 7 August, in which 716,000 tests were conducted, with all tests returning negative results.
The latest news is sure to put a dampener on gaming revenue for the upcoming October Golden Week period commencing 1 October, traditionally one of the busiest periods for Macau’s resorts. This is despite Macau having an extraordinarily successful track record in containing the global COVID-19 pandemic. Along with four Pacific Island nations – Micronesia, Samoa, the Solomon Islands and the Marshall Islands – Macau is the only place in the world with zero fatalities and under 100 cases per million population, of the 221 countries and territories of the world tracked by Worldometers.info.