Economic toll deepens, but underlying optimism intact

The Coronavirus, now renamed as Covid-19, has devastated the near-term outlook for Asia’s casino operators, though analysts still expect demand to snap back sharply once the outbreak is under control. The big question is when that might be. China this week changed its diagnostic procedures, resulting in a spike in the number of confirmed cases and clouding the picture as to the extent of the disease. As of going to press, there were more than 60,000 confirmed cases, causing 1,369 deaths.  Macau’s government is mulling an extension to the closure of its casinos, which may come as soon as Friday, while Hong Kong has ordered schools to remain closed, now until March 16. Travel restrictions remain in place across the region for travellers from China, Hong Kong and Macau, while the Philippines has added travellers from Taiwan to its ban. Australia has a ban on non-residents who have travelled through China,...

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