HK unveils most sweeping social-distancing rules


Hong Kong, Jul 14 (IANS): Hong Kong has drastically tightened social-distancing rules, banning dine-in services at restaurants, and making mask-wearing mandatory on public transport, as the city recorded 52 new COVID-19 cases, it was reported.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam held a press conference on Monday night after a meeting with her cabinet to announce the toughest prevention measures so far, effective starting on Wednesday, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.

The limit on the size of public gatherings would be tightened from 50 to four people, while the number of patrons allowed at a table in restaurants would be capped at four, Lam said.

According to the new rules, bars and 12 other type of premises, including gyms and karaoke lounges, must shut down, while two of the city's biggest tourist attractions, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park, will temporarily close.

The annual book fair, scheduled to begin on Wednesday, has also been postponed.

Lam warned the COVID-19 situation was bound to fluctuate but urged the public not to panic, vowing her government would remain vigilant.

"The measures I announced today will be more stringent than in the past," the SCMP quoted Lam as saying on Monday night.

"But whether we can suppress the latest round of the pandemic still depends on whether the whole city can put its head together to fight the virus."

Hong Kong authorities are growing increasingly concerned over the number of cases that are untraceable, with 20 of the latest infections falling under that category.

According to Lam, 54 of 182 local cases recorded since July 6 are of unknown origin.

Tuesday as the second consecutive day that there were more than 50 cases in the city, and came after a record high of 41 local infections on Monday.

The total number of coronavirus cases in Hong Kong reached 1,521, with eight fatalities.

 

  

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