The recent lifting of China’s COVID-19 protocols has caused a large infection outbreak on the mainland and in the two Special Administrative Regions of the People’s Republic, Macau and Hong Kong.
The lifting of Beijing’s “zero-COVID” has been anxiously anticipated by Macau casinos for over three years, and with the region’s borders being as open as they have been since the coronavirus first appeared in China in December 2019, the casinos there are hopeful for a financial recovery.
However, it appears that China’s weak herd immunity is enabling the virus to spread wildly throughout mainland China and its areas and territories.
One in two casino employees in Macau, according to a report from Inside Asian Gaming yesterday, have contracted COVID-19. Since China started to relax “zero-COVID” earlier this month, that is. Following considerable criticism of the nation’s continued efforts to completely eradicate the virus from China, Beijing lifted its “zero-COVID” ban.
Despite the fact that Christmas is not traditionally observed in China, the holiday has gained popularity recently on the mainland. Many Chinese people now regularly celebrate Christmas, albeit as a commercial holiday rather than a religious or holy day.
Before the pandemic, the Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year’s holidays were bustling times at the Macau casinos. However, according to Inside Asian Gaming, COVID-19’s spread over the last weekend left the casino resorts all but dead.
At the moment, local estimates place the spread at almost 50% of Macau’s population. It is estimated that one in two casino employees either has the coronavirus now or has had it previously.
Casinos in Macau were therefore quiet throughout Christmas.
The famed Venetian retail shopping mall was not much patronized, and some restaurants were closed as a result of staff infections, according to the media outlet that visited the Cotai Strip on Saturday.
Pierce Chan, an IAG journalist, continued, “The same was true for commercial locations on the Macau peninsula, with some shops in the One Central mall near to MGM Macau needing to close owing to staff infection.”
Despite a high number of COVID-19 cases, local officials are optimistic that after the populace successfully battles an infection wave, things will start to return to normal. In that case, more locals start to feel at ease going into the public. The immediate objective is to limit the number of fatalities.
Given how bad the virus is, it won’t be simple. According to a government document that was released, Radio Free Asia reported over the weekend that around 250 million people in China are probably COVID-19 infected.
According to a leaked document from China’s National Health Commission, 248 million people have the virus. If such figures are correct, there should be around 5,000 deaths every day in the nation, according to international health experts.
The National Health Commission allegedly said that data is “difficult to track” after China discontinued required mass testing rounds in response to new diseases.
People are concerned about the significant COVID-19 spread, which has been estimated to affect two in ten mainland Chinese citizens at this time.
One representative from the local casino business told IAG, “There is currently a widespread illness, and things are moving so quickly that many are even afraid, which seems to be more than anyone had anticipated. We can only expect for a meaningful recovery in the second part of January, once the people of Macau have become used to living with the virus.”