By Cailey Rizzo
February 04, 2020

Macau, the world’s gambling capital, will shut down for two weeks as reports of the coronavirus grow.

On Tuesday, Macau's chief executive, Ho Iat Seng, asked the city’s 41 casinos to close for two weeks, according to RTHK. General public services in Macau are also temporarily being halted, with only emergency services running normally.

Commuters wear face masks as they travel in a bus in Macau on January 22, 2020, after the former Portuguese colony reported its first case of the new SARS-like virus that originated from Wuhan in China.
ANTHONY WALLACE/Getty Images

“Of course this was a difficult decision, but we must do it for the health of Macau’s residents,” he said in a televised news conference.

The two-week closure comes during the Lunar New Year celebrations, when many folks in China typically travel or vacation. It’s estimated that this closure could cut five to 15 percent out of Macau’s annual gambling revenue, a consultant told The New York Times.

The city is also scaling back on public transportation, and it passed a law requiring all those who board public transit to wear a face mask. Mr. Ho also urged residents to stay home and only leave for essentials, like purchasing food.

Ten people in Macau have been diagnosed with the coronavirus since its outbreak. The city has already seen an 80 percent drop in visitation during the Lunar New Year period.

This week, Hong Kong confirmed its first coronavirus-related fatality. The death toll is now estimated to be at least 360 people. For a real-time look at how the virus is spreading, check out this map from Johns Hopkins University.

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