Pedestrians walk along the near-deserted Lan Kwai Fong district at night during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Central district of Hong Kong, on March 28, 2020. (PAUL YEUNG/BLOOMBERG)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s bars, nightclubs, party rooms and bathhouses will be closed starting Thursday, as the city reported 80 fresh COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, the highest since Aug 7, as well as more than 50 cases that returned preliminarily positive results.
A maximum of 10 tables will be allowed at banquet venues, with four people per table, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said
A maximum of 10 tables will be allowed at banquet venues, with four people per table, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee announced at a press briefing. The new rules will be in force from Thursday to at least Dec 2.
“There are multiple transmission chains in the community,” Chan told reporters. “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, were first closed for several weeks in April and again from mid-July to mid-September, before restrictions were gradually eased again.
The city’s new wave of infections is centered on a ballooning infection cluster connected with 21 dance studios across the city. The cluster saw 54 new patients on Tuesday with 187 infections so far, according to data from health authorities.
People who have visited the 21 dance studios are required by the government to take coronavirus tests. As of Monday, 2,800 people got tested and 50 tested positive, Chan said.
Establishments considered highly susceptible to risks, such as entertainment venues and all restaurants, must apply before Dec 3 for a QR code of Leave Home Safe, Hong Kong’s contact tracing mobile app
Thirty-two of Tuesday’s new cases were detected at the city’s four community testing centers, Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said at the same briefing. The government had earlier said five more such centers will be set up across the city as early as this weekend.
Ten of Tuesday’s fresh local cases remained untraced, involving residents of Sha Tin, Tseung Kwan O, Shau Kei Wan, Tai Wai, North Point, Tuen Mun and Sheung Shui, Chuang said.
The city’s total of confirmed cases stood at 5,781 as of Tuesday.
A journalist takes photos of beds at a field hospital set up at AsiaWorld-Expo in Hong Kong on Nov 24, 2020. (PARKER ZHENG/CHINA DAILY)
A 15-year-old student was among those who tested preliminarily positive for the virus. Kiangsu-Chekiang College in North Point, where the boy studies, is expected to suspend face-to-face classes for two weeks.
Chan said establishments considered highly susceptible to risks, such as entertainment venues and all restaurants, must apply before Dec 3 for a QR code of Leave Home Safe, Hong Kong’s contact tracing mobile app. The QR code should be made available for scanning at the premises within two days of successful application.
Chan said the new measures were aimed at minimizing gatherings as those are thought to have spawned a number of recent infection clusters. She appealed to residents to try to avoid eating out and urged employers to implement a work-from-home arrangement.
Chan said she was very concerned that a large number of Hong Kong students would be returning to the city in December during the Christmas holiday, many of them from high-risk regions. She said the government has started looking for hotels willing to be enlisted as quarantine accommodation for such returnees.
With inputs from Agencies