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Macao approves new gaming law as COVID outbreak shuts city

First cases in 8 months bring gambling hub to near-halt

Macao authorities instructed all the city's 681,700 residents to be screened for COVID-19 with nucleic acid testing.   © Getty Images

HONG KONG -- Macao legislators on Tuesday overwhelmingly backed a new gaming law for Asia's biggest casino hub, setting the stage for the city to solicit bidders for new operating concessions later this year even as the enclave's first COVID outbreak in eight months brought business to a near-halt.

The government pushed ahead with the vote on the gaming bill in the Legislative Assembly, barring observers except for media, even as most municipal offices as well as schools, banks and restaurants were shuttered and other items were cleared from lawmakers' agenda. By midday, all of the city's 681,700 residents were to have been tested for COVID-19.

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