HONG KONG (Reuters) – Macau began a new round of city-wide COVID-19 testing on Monday for its more than 600,000 residents as officials rushed to contain a spiral number among the worst outbreaks to hit the world’s largest gambling center. Since the beginning of the epidemic.
Coronavirus testing for all residents will take place three times across the city this week, with people also needing rapid antigen testing.
The move comes as the former Portuguese colony reported 90 new cases on Sunday, bringing the total number of infections to 784 since mid-June. There are more than 11,000 people in quarantine.
Although Macau, a Chinese special administrative region, has not introduced a full-scale lockdown seen in mainland Chinese cities such as Shanghai, the city is already largely closed.
All unnecessary government services are closed, schools, parks, sports and leisure facilities are closed and restaurants can only provide takeaways.
Casinos have been allowed to remain open but most residents have been told to stay at home as instructed by city residents. The government has said it will not close the casino to secure jobs.
Strict measures came after Macau was largely covid-free since an outbreak in October 2021.
Macau adheres to China’s “Zero-Covid” policy, which aims to eradicate all outbreaks at any cost, as opposed to the global tendency to try to coexist with the virus.
Cases of Macau in other places, including neighboring Hong Kong, are still far below the daily contagion, with more than 2,000 cases a day rising this month.
However, it has only one government hospital, whose services are already expanding daily. The region has an open border with mainland China, where many residents live and work in the adjacent city of Zhuhai.
(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Muralikumar Anantarman)
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