Macau lockdown begins, Hong Kong mulls health code app

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Macau is the only place in China where casinos are legal but the pandemic has hammered the city’s fortunes

Macau casino shares plunged on Monday as the Chinese city embarked on a week-long lockdown to curb its worst coronavirus outbreak while neighbouring Hong Kong said it was mulling a mainland-style health code system.

Share prices of six gaming conglomerates — Sands China, Galaxy Entertainment, SJM Holdings, Melco International, MGM China and Wynn Macau — dropped by between six and nearly nine percent in Monday morning trade.

Macau, the world’s biggest gambling hub, is the only place in China where casinos are legal but the pandemic has hammered the city’s fortunes as it sticks to Beijing’s zero-Covid model.

A Bloomberg gauge of the city’s six licensed casino operators is down 20 percent this year.

All residents must stay home except to go shopping for daily necessities and to get tested for the virus, with rule-breakers facing up to two years in jail.

China uses mandatory health code apps to trace people’s movements and coronavirus outbreaks. Only those with green codes can move freely.

“So-called freedom can sometimes be easily confused with selfishness,” Lo told RTHK radio.

Hong Kong is being remoulded in the authoritarian mainland’s image after huge democracy protests three years ago.

The newly installed administration of chief executive John Lee, a former security official, has vowed to stamp out infections and restart travel to both the mainland and outside world.

Hong Kong currently uses a less restrictive mobile phone app than the mainland one, which keeps a resident’s vaccination record and is used to check into businesses and venues.

Originally published as Macau lockdown begins, Hong Kong mulls health code app


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