Residents line up to undergo COVID-19 nucleic acid tests in Macao, Aug 4, 2021. (CHEONG KAM KA / XINHUA)
HONG KONG/BEIJING – Macao shut down a popular shopping mall adjacent to MGM China's casino resort on the city's main peninsula after several COVID-19 infections were found, as authorities raced to the biggest outbreak yet in the SAR.
One Central shopping mall will be shut for one week, while more than a dozen other zones or buildings, have also been ordered to close, authorities said, as the Chinese mainland reported 94 locally-transmitted confirmed COVID-19 cases for Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Macao locked down one of the city's most famous hotels, the Grand Lisboa, with more 500 people inside.
READ MORE: Macao seals off landmark Lisboa hotel after COVID cases found
More than 600,000 residents have been asked to stay at home when possible and are required to take part in three citywide COVID-19 tests this week
The city has reported more than 1,000 coronavirus cases since mid-June with more than 14,000 people in mandatory quarantine. The territory had largely been COVID-free since an outbreak in October 2021.
A shopping mall inside the Four Seasons hotel owned by Las Vegas Sands Macao unit Sands China was also requested to shut this week after several cases were found.
The city is effectively closed with most facilities shut and restaurants only providing takeaway. More than 600,000 residents have been asked to stay at home when possible and are required to take part in three citywide COVID-19 tests this week. People are also required to take rapid antigen tests in between.
Only the casinos have been allowed to stay open in a move to protect jobs, the government said. Macao gets more than 80 percent of its tax revenues from the industry with most of the population employed directly or indirectly by the casino resorts.
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Although casinos are physically open, there are few patrons and only a small number of staff, with many employees asked to stay home to comply with the government's request.
The National Health Commission said 244 local asymptomatic carriers were identified in 10 provincial-level regions in the mainland on Wednesday.
Residents line up for COVID-19 testing, July 6, 2022, in Shanghai. Residents of parts of Shanghai and Beijing have been ordered to undergo further rounds of testing following the discovery of new cases in the two cities. (CHEN SI / AP)
Total 39 patients were discharged from hospitals after recovery the same day, with the total number of COVID-19 patients discharged from hospitals after recovery reaching 220,265.
No new deaths from COVID-19 were registered on Wednesday, with the total death toll standing at 5,226.