On January 5th, the announcement was made. There will be no international passenger flights into Macau via civil aviation until January 23. After the detection of three cases of the Omicron variety, this action was taken to prevent its further spread. The casinos, though, could have done without this constraint after a year of poor performance.
New cases of COVID identified
It may come as a surprise to learn that Macau did not see any Covid-19 infections for a good chunk of time in 2021. But for a while now, things have been different. Three cases of the Omicron variation, which has no symptoms, have recently been found in this formerly Portuguese territory.
People arriving from Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, and the United Kingdom were the test subjects. After a positive test, guests at certain hotels were promptly isolated. The Chinese territories of Macau and Hong Kong have also begun an aggressive counterattack to the pandemic. All visitors from the outside must undergo a lengthy quarantine. Those who test positive, as well as their loved ones, are placed under strict quarantine.
It didn’t take long for the government to respond.
In light of this finding, the Macao Health Bureau has decided to prohibit all flights from any nation other than China to Macao. This is a preventative measure that will go into effect on January 9, 2022, and end on January 23, 2022. This embargo applies only to Hong Kong and Macau, not mainland China. Hong Kong stated on the following Wednesday that it will no longer allow visitors from eight nations.
The obvious goal is to contain the infection. Twenty percent of all confirmed cases are the Omicron variety at the present time. It is notable for being very resistant to booster vaccinations and being highly contagious. It might swiftly become a threat to public health in Macau if not contained.
The casinos take another hit.
The casino owners should feel ashamed of this. Macau’s economy relies heavily on gambling because it is the only area in China where it is legal. It is widely considered retrograde to forbid non-residents from entering the country and to prohibit civilian planes from abroad.
Macau’s casinos only made roughly 29.5% as much money in 2021 as they did the previous year. They were forced to close for only two weeks in 2020 due to travel restrictions, but this had a significant impact on their mostly international clientele. Even worse, the opulent casinos that provided the bulk of their income were forced to close after the arrest of businessman Alvin Chau. A string of bad luck from which these businesses had not yet fully recovered. The tensions have been raised by the fresh actions taken by the local government.