HONG KONG – Macau will reopen public services and entertainment facilities and allow dining in restaurants from Tuesday, officials said, as the world’s largest gambling centre reported no COVID-19 cases for nine straight days. The latter wants to return to normalcy.
The government said in a statement on Monday that beauty salons, fitness centres and bars would also be allowed to resume operations.
Health officials will require residents to wear masks and show a negative coronavirus test within three days of entering most places.
“There have been no community infection cases in Macau for nine consecutive days … and the risk of the spread of the coronavirus has been greatly reduced,” it said.
The former Portuguese colony has reported around 1,800 infections since mid-June, when it was hit with its worst coronavirus outbreak that forced the closure of casinos and locked down most of the city.
Macau reopened its casinos on July 23, as authorities began unwinding stringent measures which required most businesses and premises to shut.
This is the first time Macau is battling the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.
More than 90% of Macau’s residents have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Still, officials closely follow China’s zero-COVID order, which seeks to contain all outbreaks at no cost, unlike the rest of the world already living with the virus.
The city has only one public hospital, which was already overburdened by the pandemic.