Macau’s health authorities confirmed on Monday the city’s first imported case of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 infection. The male patient is a 23-year-old Macau ID holder who returned to the city on Saturday (December 25), from the United States, via a transit stop in Singapore.
The individual – who did not initially show symptoms – tested ‘positive’ on arrival at Macau International Airport (pictured in a file photo). Under the city’s “closed loop” system for managing Covid-19, all air travellers from overseas are immediately placed in quarantine whether or not they test ‘positive’ on arrival.
The infection, classified as an imported case, takes the city’s aggregate number of confirmed Covid-19 cases to 78, according to city’s Covid-19 task force, the Novel Coronavirus Response and Coordination Centre.
Currently, mainland China remains the only place that has a largely quarantine-free travel arrangement with Macau.
The emergence of the Omicron variant has “upended” reopening plans, for the time being, in some Asian economies, such as Japan, Thailand and Singapore, Fitch Ratings Inc said in a fourth-quarter 2021 update about the pandemic’s affect on tourism in the Asia-Pacific region.
Fitch also stated it expected a “slow recovery” in international tourism across Asia Pacific during 2022, despite progress made in Covid-19 vaccination coverage and “stepped-up reopening efforts”.
The ratings house also expected China to maintain its “zero-Covid” policy throughout most of 2022, with quarantine-free travel arrangement set up only for Macau and Hong Kong.
On Friday, Ho Iat Seng, Macau’s Chief Executive, said that in 2022 the city should be able to generate MOP130 billion (US$16.2 billion) in casino gross gaming revenue, provided there were no fresh community outbreaks of Covid-19 in Macau.
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”As the Macau gaming revenue structure is now leaning heavily towards the mass business … once the border fully reopens, the recovery from mass should drive the sector to bounce more swiftly”
Vitaly Umansky, Louis Li and Shirley Yang
Analysts at Sanford C. Bernstein