The four land borders between Macau and neighbouring Zhuhai, the latter city being part of the mainland’s Guangdong province, were temporarily closed with effect from 6am on Wednesday (August 19), according to Macau’s Civil Protection Centre.
The move coincided with the passage overnight – 20 kilometres (12.4 miles) to the south of the city – of Typhoon Higos. It led to the Number 10 storm signal being raised in the city for the first time since Typhoon Mangkhut, in 2018.
Such a signal indicates sustained wind speed of over 118 kilometres per hour, with very strong gusts possible.
All the crossing points – Macau’s Border Gate, and the Ilha Verde checkpoint, both in the northern district of the city; the Zhuhai-Macau checkpoint on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge; and the Hengqin Port checkpoint – had reopened by 2pm on Wednesday. The Hengqin Port crossing had only been launched for public use in a ceremony on Tuesday.
Zhuhai is one of the few places on the mainland currently permitted to offer its residents leisure travel visas to Macau, provided such visitors have a certificate of freedom from Covid-19 infection.
Typhoon Higos brought flooding to some low-lying areas of Macau in the early hours of Wednesday, including the Inner Harbour, near the Ponte 16 casino resort, according to local media reports. A Number 8 typhoon signal – indicating the suspension of public transport – was still in place up to 10.30am on Wednesday. It was downgraded to a Number 3 signal by 11.30am.
In other developments coinciding with the typhoon, local media reported that at about 4am on Wednesday, an area of ceiling collapsed in the Crystal Lobby section of the Galaxy Macau casino resort on Cotai, hurting three workers.
The incident was reported by on-site security staff to the city’s Fire Services Bureau, according to Chinese-language media.
Galaxy Macau is operated by Macau casino licensee, Galaxy Entertainment Group Ltd.
Unlike the advent of Typhoon Mangkhut, the latest storm did not lead to any precautionary shuttering of the city’s casinos.
But three slot-machine parlours under the Mocha network, operated by gaming concessionaire Melco Resorts and Entertainment Ltd, were authorised to suspend temporarily – from 10.45pm Tuesday – their operations as a precautionary measure. The three venues – at Macau Tower, the Inner Harbour and a building called Kuong Fat on Macau peninsula – had reopened by 1pm on Wednesday, according to the local casino regulator, the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau.
(Updated Weds, 3.45pm)
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