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Hong Kong to shut bars, nightclubs for the third time as new COVID-19 cases jump

Hong Kong to shut bars, nightclubs for the third time as new COVID-19 cases jump

Medical workers in protective suits attend to people at a makeshift community testing centre in Hong Kong's Yau Tsim Mong district, China on Nov 24, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Joyce Zhou)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong will close bars, nightclubs and other entertainment venues for the third time this year, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said on Tuesday (Nov 24) as authorities scramble to tackle a renewed rise in COVID-19 cases.

Authorities are also reopening a temporary COVID-19 treatment hall near the city's airport.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong reported 80 new coronavirus cases, taking the total since late January to 5,782 COVID-19 infections and 108 deaths.

The financial hub has so far managed to avoid the widespread outbreak of the disease seen in many major cities across the world, with numbers on a daily basis mostly in single digits or low double digits in the weeks prior to the spike.

READ: Hong Kong, Singapore bubble delay highlights hurdles to travel recovery

READ: Deferral of air travel bubble a joint decision by Singapore and Hong Kong: Chan Chun Sing

Pedestrians walk along a footbridge in Hong Kong on Nov 24, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Peter Parks)

More than 180 of the cases in recent days have been linked to dance clubs.

"There are multiple transmission chains in the community," Chan told a news conference.

"We need to tighten all social distancing measures, because the pandemic is severe."

Bars and nightclubs, as well as other types of venues such as karaoke and dance halls, will be closed initially for seven days until at least Dec 3. They were first closed for several weeks in April and again from mid-July to mid-September, before restrictions were gradually eased again.

The latest jump in cases has caused a travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore, due to launch on Sunday, to be postponed for at least two weeks.

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Source: Reuters/cna/zl

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