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HK reports 4 new cases, social distancing rules extended to May 7

21 April 2020

By The SUN
Respite over: health officials say 4 new cases reported today, though all are imported

Hong Kong reported four new cases, all imported, today, Apr 21. This comes after a one-day lull in which not a single case was reported.

The four cases included a couple who just returned to the United States, and two who flew in from Britain, one of them a 13-year-old student. They were all found infected during mandatory testing on arrival at the airport.
The report came hours after Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that social distancing measures imposed by the government will be extended for another 14 days, or until May 7.

The restrictions, which include a ban on public gatherings of more than four people and the closure of venues that attract large crowds such as park, cinemas, bars, gyms, as well as massage and beauty parlors, were due to expire on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters before the weekly Executive Council meeting, Lam said the restrictions need to be extended for another two weeks as the city must remain vigilant against the spread of the Covid-19

CE Lam says the decision to extend the ban on large gatherings was made after consulting experts
“This is indeed a very difficult balancing act…On the one hand we need to fight the virus to keep our citizens safe, on the other hand if the city is dead, it has no business (and) people don’t have normal activities, that becomes also difficult,” she said.

In deciding whether to extend the ban or not, Lam said experts were consulted on the risks involved, and in evaluating the impact of the restrictions on the economy, the business community and the social life of the people.

“I have come to this view, together with the advise of the experts and my colleagues, that for the time being, the better balance to be struck, and the safer approach to ensure all the successes that Hong Kong has achieved over the last three months won’t be wasted, is to extend these social distancing measures for another 14 days,” she said.

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Lam noted that Hong Long is already doing better than many other places as it has not been under lockdown.

Following her statement, the Food and Health Bureau issued a statement indicating the removal of the condition that restaurants must take in only 50% of their regular capacity.
But other requirements like compelling diners to wear a mask, and limiting the seating capacity to four to a table, which should at least be 1.5 meters apart, will remain in place.

Restaurants may now take in customers at full capacity
The move came as health authorities decided to require all residents arriving from overseas to wait for their Covid-19 test results before undergoing a mandatory 14-day home quarantine.

Those who arrive in the morning will have to wait for the result at AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) testing center, while those who fly in at night will be taken to Regal Oriental Hotel in Kowloon City where they will have to remain until their test results are out.

To ensure compliance, the self-isolating travelers will be issued electronic wristbands and will be confined to their rooms until they get their test results.
As before, all who show symptoms on arrival will be taken directly to hospitals where they will be tested for the virus. If they test positive they will be admitted for treatment, while those who return a negative result will be sent home for the 14-day quarantine.

Previously, only those arriving from Britain and the United States were required to undergo Covid-19 testing and wait for the result at AWE.

Anyone found violating quarantine orders will be liable to pay a fine of up to $25,000 and imprisonment for up to six months.

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