In Macau and aggregate tourist numbers for the seven days from last Friday reportedly dropped by almost 80% when compared with last year owing to increased apprehension concerning the highly-infectious ‘Wuhan virus.’
According to a report from Inside Asian Gaming, the seven-day period is traditionally one of the most lucrative for the former Portuguese enclave as visitors from across Asia flock to one of its many casinos such as the iconic Casino Grand Lisboa or the 1,600-room Studio City Macau in order to enjoy celebration marking Chinese New Year.
However, official figures from the Macao Government Tourism Office reportedly showed that Macau welcomed only 261,069 foreign holidaymakers during the week that begun from January 24. This figure represented a decline of 78.3% when compared with last year’s tally of over 1.21 million and came as local officials instituted even more measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus strain that has so far killed at least 200 people in neighboring China.
Inside Asian Gaming reported that 57,838 foreign tourists had entered Macau on Saturday although this figure had plummeted to only 17,865 by the ensuing Thursday. It moreover explained that the week-long tally for those travelling into the city from mainland China had decreased 83.3% year-on-year to 149,244 with a paltry 9,664 having crossed yesterday.
Causing pneumonia-like symptoms such as high fevers and coughs, ‘Wuhan virus’ was first recorded in the Chinese city of Wuhan in early-December and has so far been contracted by over 9,700 people in nations as distant as Australia, Germany and the United Kingdom. The spread of the potentially deadly strain, which is officially known as 2019 Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), led the World Health Organization to declare a global emergency on Thursday just hours after the United States Department of State had issued an advisory warning against travel to China.