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Hong Kong re-introduces tough restrictions as virus numbers rise



PHOTO: Bantersnaps on Unsplash

Hong Kong is toughening up on restrictions as it is experiencing what many are calling a 3rd wave of Covid-19 infections. From tomorrow, customers can no longer dine in at restaurants as eateries will be allowed to open for takeaway service only. This expands an existing rule that banned dining in from 6pm, now making it an all-day stipulation. In addition, gatherings of more than 2 people are banned, and the wearing of face-masks is mandatory in all public spaces, including outdoor areas.

The tough restrictions are being re-introduced as Hong Kong confirms an additional 145 new cases of the virus, 142 of which involve community transmission. Of particular concern is a surge in virus numbers at care homes, with one facility in the town of Tuen Mun in the New Territories, reporting 24 cases so far, including 21 residents and 3 staff members.

Hospitals, too, are seeing a worrying uptick in numbers, with a nurse from Prince of Wales Hospital and another from Sha Tin Hospital, both testing positive. Neither nurse was working in a Covid isolation ward and medics believe they caught the virus from family members who had previously tested positive.

There is anger, too, at the news that a cross-boundary driver who was not required to quarantine has tested positive for Covid-19, leading to criticism of a policy that exempts pilots and sea-crew from 14-day quarantine.

A report in Coconuts says authorities are now pleading with residents to comply with the restrictions, with Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung describing the latest outbreak as the toughest Hong Kong has faced.

“This current virus wave is the most serious and challenging we’ve seen in the past six months. The next two, three weeks will be extremely crucial. We will do our utmost to prevent the virus from spreading further. “

Meanwhile, infectious disease expert David Hui, from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, says there are signs that the restrictions are slowing down the spread of the virus, but predicts it will take some time to suppress it completely, adding that the measures should remain in place for some time after numbers have dropped.

SOURCE: Coconuts


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