Macau hotels suffer from rising Covid-19 cases - Plataforma Media

Macau hotels suffer from rising Covid-19 cases

The relaxation of pandemic prevention measures in Macau and in Mainland China are working against the hotel industry. A series of cancellations for next week make it impossible to predict if the future will be bright, or if the reopening will bring more damage than repairs, according to a source from one of the operators contacted by PLATAFORMA. Hotel services are considered to be closing, as employees give positive feedback to Covid-19

The hotel industry cannot predict the outcome of the relaxation of pandemic prevention measures. While the borders between Macau and the mainland have been relaxed, the growing number of infections on both sides has created a double-edged sword.

Read also: Macau concessionaires with fewer workers and lower salaries

A source connected to one of the operators tells PLATAFORMA that there has been a series of cancellations of reservations from Mainland China due to Covid-19.

The largest market of the concessionaire in question is Guangdong. Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has accounted for over 60 percent of hotel occupancy. However, the Chinese province has a daily average of over a thousand cases per day. It was also counted on the recovery of the second largest market, Shanghai, which had “disappeared” since March due to successive confinements.

Although the city’s infection rate is close to zero, cancellation requests are also arriving from here.

On the other hand, the growing number of infections locally has also depleted the industry’s workforce. “It’s not official yet, but it’s possible that we may have to close restaurants because we don’t have enough staff to respond. Several have tested positive in recent days, including reception and cleaning staff,” he tells PLATAFORMA.

In conclusion, he says they have no forecast of the results for the next two weeks, nor how to manage the operation if the number of employees continues to reduce due to the Covid-19 infection.

Read more about it: Covid-19 | Secretary admits gradual opening in Macau

“We want business, but we are concerned about the impact that [the new measures in Macau and Mainland China] will have on worker availability. Not to mention customers coming in infected. For now we are having a lot of cancellations, and we can’t predict the next two weeks. We don’t know what’s going to happen at Christmas, we can’t predict it at all. It’s a double-edged sword.” While the hotel industry tries to adjust to the new measures, other industries welcome the new phase. For the city’s economy, the lifting of the restrictions is “very welcome,” the president of Banco Nacional Ultramarino (BNU) tells Lusa.

“It can mean a greater flow of tourists, it can mean the recovery of business for small and medium-sized companies, it can mean a lot for Macau, the recovery of economic activity and obviously this then reflects on the activity of the banks. This return to normality is very welcome,” he concludes.

INFECTIONS ONLY PEAK IN JANUARY

The worst is yet to come, says Alvis Lo, director of Health Services. “The number of confirmed cases is estimated to peak in three or four weeks.” Macau entered a new “transition phase” on December 14.

The current vaccination rate rests with the authorities.

Also read: COVID-19: Macau registered 208 infection cases on Sunday

“The transmissibility of the strain is high, but easy to recover from after infection. In Macau, the vaccination rate is over 90 percent, so there are conditions to adapt the measures,” said the Secretary for Social Affairs and Culture when announcing the changes. In the same press conference, the authorities said that 50 to 80 percent of the population will be infected.

One of the measures introduced is home quarantine for cases that are not considered serious, replacing quarantine in a designated facility.

Authorities estimate that 90 percent of people will be able to comply with this model, while the rest will be supported by local hospital facilities and hotels.

Also read: China/Macau: Why change?

Right now, Macau has 600 hospital beds and 6,000 rooms in medical observation hotels – a number capable of meeting the needs, they say. In addition, there are 106 doctors who have been trained in intensive care and 89 nurses. As for ventilators, it has 139, with only five artificial lung machines. Meanwhile, asymptomatic cases are no longer counted, similarly to the Continent.

CHILDREN AND ELDERLY WORRY

Even so, the rapid lifting of restrictions worries members of the Legislative Assembly, particularly the low vaccination rate among the elderly and children, warning that the health system is limited. Just this week there was another fatality, an 80-year-old man. On the other hand, the scientific basis of the new measures is called into question.

Assemblyman Pereira Coutinho even claims that the authorities have not bothered to explain the decisions taken.

“These restrictions were implemented without the competent authorities bothering to justify to the population the scientific basis for their decisions.”

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