Hong Kong to further tighten social distancing measures to contain COVID-19: HKSAR chief executive

HONG KONG, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) — Carrie Lam, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), said on Tuesday that in view of the worsening COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong, social distancing measures will be further tightened including the banning of dine-in services in restaurants after 6 p.m..

Lam said to the media before attending the Executive Council meeting on Tuesday that the recent epidemic has been worrying, with 661 new cases of COVID-19 reported over the past week. Patients in critical and serious conditions involved not only the elderly but also the younger people.

“The situation is more complicated than the last wave as infections scattered across Hong Kong and a number of clusters were involved,” Lam said, adding that the number of untraceable cases has been rising which indicated that there is a lot of silent transmission in the community.

The HKSAR government will adopt more stringent measures to reduce people flow in public places to contain the spread of the virus. Dine-in services in restaurants will be banned after 6 p.m., and work from home arrangements among civil servants will be strengthened. Business premises including fitness centers, beauty parlors, massage establishments need to be closed, according to Lam.

To prevent importation of cases, visitors who arrived in Hong Kong are subject to a 14-day compulsory quarantine in designated hotels and they need to do another COVID-19 test five days after finishing the quarantine, Lam said.

Hong Kong reported 78 additional confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Monday, taking its total tally to 6,975. As of Monday, 1,122 COVID-19 patients are being treated in public hospitals and the community treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo, and a total of 36 patients are in critical condition.

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