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Macao orders closure of entertainment venues, mass-testing

Last Updated Aug 4, 2021 at 4:00 am MDT

Mainland Chinese tourists take a picture of them at "The Ruins of St. Paul's," the famous tourist spot, on the second day of the Chinese New Year in Macau, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014. The Lunar New Year marks the year of the horse this year according to Chinese astrology. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

HONG KONG (AP) — Macao authorities on Wednesday ordered the closure of entertainment venues but not casinos, and coronavirus tests for its 600,000 residents, after the gambling city confirmed four new infections.

The closure covers gyms, bars, massage parlors and karaoke places.

The city also plans to test some 600,000 residents after a family of four tested positive for the more infectious delta coronavirus variant. The mass testing is expected to last three days.

The daughter had recently returned from an exchange trip to mainland China, where authorities believe she was infected.

Macao Chief Executive Ho Iat-seng said at a news conference that if there are no new infections in the next 14 days, normal economic activities will resume.

Macao has reported only 59 coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, with no deaths.

The new cases have sparked concern about the economy of the city that is heavily reliant on tourism. It is the only Chinese city where casinos are legal. Since the pandemic began, casinos and hotels have been hit hard as travel restrictions led to a drastic reduction in the number of affluent visitors.

Authorities in nearby Hong Kong said they removed Macao from a travel program that exempts city arrivals from quarantine.

Zen Soo, The Associated Press