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Chinese visitor to Macao hospitalized with Wuhan coronavirus

Updated January 22, 2020 - 8:38 pm

The government of Macao confirmed Wednesday that a 52-year-old woman was hospitalized Tuesday after falling ill following her arrival at the Chinese gambling enclave near Hong Kong.

Officials suspect she might have fallen victim to the Wuhan coronavirus, which emerged last month in China.

Chinese officials said she spent most of her time where she stayed and not in any of the resorts operated by Las Vegas Sands Corp., MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd.

Chinese tourists have begun traveling before the Chinese New Year celebration of the Year of the Rat.

The woman arrived by high-speed train through Zhuhai on Sunday, then took a bus to Macao, staying at central Macao’s New Orient Landmark Hotel, according to Ao Leong Lu, Macao’s secretary for social affairs and culture. She did not visit any resorts operated by Las Vegas Sands Corp., MGM Resorts International and Wynn Resorts Ltd., according to Ao.

Ao and other officials said at a news conference that authorities were coordinating with six gaming enterprises to introduce temperature screening machines at all entrances into casinos.

Representatives of the three American casino companies offered different responses to inquiries about whether they had been asked to set up screening machines at their properties.

“We are following the guidelines set out by the local authorities and health officials,” MGM spokeswoman Debra DeShong said Wednesday.

“Our leadership teams in the U.S. and Asia are working closely with local officials and taking the appropriate steps to protect our team members and guests,” Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese said. “We are prepared to follow any additional protocols or guidance as they are made available.”

Michael Weaver, a representative of Wynn Resorts Ltd., had no comment about the virus, which has been compared to the SARS outbreak that killed nearly 1,000 people in the early 2000s. SARS reduced travel in China and the number of Chinese tourists coming to the United States.

Stock prices fell around 5 percent for the three companies earlier in the week when the spread of the virus was confirmed.

After news that a victim was discovered in Macao, Wynn shares dropped nearly 2 points more to $139.60 on Wednesday. Las Vegas Sands shares fell 1.5 percentage points to $69.02, and MGM shares were off 1.5 points to $31.89 in after-hours trading.

The Review-Journal is owned by the family of Las Vegas Sands Corp. Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson.

Contact Richard N. Velotta at rvelotta@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3893. Follow @RickVelotta on Twitter.

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