Hong Kong restricts dining at restaurants in fourth wave battle

Carrie Lam says fourth wave is ‘more complicated and more severe’ with cases ‘widely spread out’ in Hong Kong.

Social-distancing marks are seen at a restaurant following the coronavirus disease outbreak in Hong Kong on July 27, 2020 [File: Tyrone Siu/ Reuters]

Hong Kong has banned dining in restaurants after 6pm (10:00 GMT) and ordered the closure of gyms, beauty salons and massage parlours in a bid to contain a fourth wave of coronavirus infections in the densely populated city.

Carrie Lam, the chief executive of Hong Kong, announced the new measures on Tuesday.

“The situation is very worrying. This wave is more complicated and more severe than the last wave. The confirmed cases are widely spread out,” Lam told reporters.

“If we don’t control it strictly, there’ll be bigger risks. This time we’ll roll out suppressing measures aimed at limiting foot traffic flow on the streets.”

Lam said new measures would come into effect on Thursday, adding that the government would also study additional relief measures for the industries affected by the latest restrictions, which have been enforced and lifted repeatedly this year.

Separately, health authorities said on Tuesday those arriving in Hong Kong would be required to take an extra coronavirus test three weeks after their arrival, in addition to the tests required immediately after landing and towards the end of their mandatory two-week quarantine.

The measure was intended to curb the spread of the virus from imported cases.

The government has already urged residents of the Chinese-ruled city to stay at home and limit gatherings to no more than two people, while most civil servants work from home.

Schools, bars and nightclubs were also ordered to close last week.

Hong Kong’s strict social-distancing measures have largely helped keep infections to less than 7,000 in the city of 7.5 million, with 112 deaths.

But daily recorded cases have risen again to more than 100 on several occasions in recent weeks, the highest level since July.

On Monday, Hong Kong recorded 78 new COVID-19 infections, taking its total to 6,976.

Lam urged extra care, saying the number of untraceable infections was going up and that younger people were falling severely ill with COVID-19.

“We have to exercise extra caution, do not be careless,” she said.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies