Hong Kong to ease some COVID-19 measures as new cases decline

Hong Kong to ease some COVID-19 measures as new cases decline

People wearing face masks walk on a street following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, i
People wearing face masks walk along a street in Hong Kong, China, Aug 11, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Lam Yik)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong will ease some COVID-19 measures from Aug 28, allowing venues like cinemas and beauty parlours to reopen and restaurants to extend dining hours, authorities said on Tuesday (Aug 25), while cautioning against complacency.

Hong Kong had seen a resurgence of locally transmitted cases since the start of July but the daily number has fallen from triple digits in recent weeks to low double digits. Monday's infection count of nine new cases was the lowest in nearly two months.

READ: Hong Kong researchers report first documented COVID-19 reinfection

Health Secretary Sophia Chan said that the government would allow outdoor sports centres to reopen and would lift mandatory mask wearing for outdoor sports and country parks. 

Restaurants would extend dining to 9pm, having previously only been able to offer takeaways past 6pm.

The government had imposed strict regulations at the start of July including the mandatory wearing of masks in all public outdoor places and a ban on gatherings of more than two people.

The cap on the number of people that can meet would remain in place past Friday, and Chan gave no indication on when this would change.

READ: Walk from home: Hong Kong tour company moves online to survive COVID-19 pandemic

The relaxation of measures comes ahead of mass testing of residents in the Asian financial hub which is set to begin on Sep 1.

Since late January, around 4,700 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 77 of whom have died.

A Hong Kong man who recovered from COVID-19 was infected again four-and-a-half months later in what is the first documented instance of human re-infection, researchers at the University of Hong Kong said on Monday. 

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Source: Reuters/zl