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HK to ease restrictions slowly as another Covid-free day recorded

28 April 2020

By The SUN
Government services will resume as normal from Monday, May 4

Civil servants who have mostly been working from home will return to their offices starting Monday next week, as services resume at normal hours in such public venues as libraries, museums, post offices and sport grounds.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam made the announcement today, Apr 28, when no new Covid-19 case was reported in Hong Kong for the third day in a row.

Speaking at a press conference before the start of an Executive Council meeting, Lam said the plan is to normalize government operations in stages, but did not give any specific timetable.
She said civil servants currently on work-from-home arrangement will start going back to the office first, except those at government schools or venues run by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department.

But she said she wasn’t ready to say whether social distancing rules which are due to lapse on May 7, would be extended.

She said people would still have to follow the rule limiting public gatherings to no more than four people. Government meetings will resume, but large-scale events such as award ceremonies and banquets are still off-limits.
She warned that any relaxation of rules should be done gradually, and could be re-imposed if the situation called for it.

CE Lam says she's still unable to say whether the social distancing rules will be extended after May 7

 “We have to impose these restrictions again when necessary, until a vaccine is found and most people are immune. Only then can we let down our guard,” Lam said.

Later in the day, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan announced the easing of quarantine restrictions on travelers from the Mainland.
Students who cross the border daily to get to their schools, as well as any arrivals deemed important to the economy will be granted an exemption to the entry ban.

“Another category is persons who have manufacturing operations or business activities, or provide professional services and their traveling is considered to be in the interest of Hong Kong’s economic development,” she said.

Chan said that this was because the government was satisfied the Covid-19 crisis on the mainland was largely under control. Still, she said people should continue taking precautions.

She said the date for when the easing of the China ban will take effect was yet to be confirmed as the details were still being ironed out.

She also announced that the ban on non-residents arriving from overseas will be extended by another month, until Jun 7, while visitors will continue to be asked for their health and travel history until Aug 31.

Today was the fifth time since Apr 20 that no new cases of Covid-19 have been detected in Hong Kong.

The total tally from the disease remains steady at 1,037. With 24 more patients discharged from hospitals today, the total number of recoveries now stands at 811. The death toll remains at 4.

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