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No dine-in after 6pm, gyms & massage to close under new gathering rules

08 December 2020

By The SUN 

CE Lam announcing the stricter rules before the Exco meeting today (RTHK photo)

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has announced new anti-gathering restrictions today, Dec 8, saying the measures introduced last week have failed to show results as coronavirus outbreaks continue in many districts across Hong Kong. 

The new restrictions include allowing restaurants to offer dine-in services only until 6pm, for gyms, massage parlors and sports venues to close down, and for more civil servants to work from home. Private companies are being urged to follow suit.

For new arrivals from overseas, those who test negative for Covid-19 at the airport will be taken to their quarantine hotels by designated vehicles, unlike in the past when they could take public or private transport. They will also have to undergo a second test on the 19th day after their arrival.

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Details of the new restrictions will be announced later this afternoon by the Food and Health Department.

Speaking before the start of the Executive Council meeting this morning, Mrs Lam noted that there were a total of 661 cases last week, and there were three days in which more than 100 cases were recorded.

She also warned that more patients are getting seriously ill, and many are younger than in the previous outbreak. Of the more than 1,000 confirmed patients in hospitals now, 36 are in critical condition, and 40 are in serious condition.

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Of those who are critical, six are below the age of 60, and five are below 50.

Mrs Lam noted that the severity of the fourth outbreak is similar to the peak of the previous wave at the end of July, as the number of cases which are untraceable are now a third of the total tally.

Despite this, many people continue to gather in restaurants and shopping malls, disregarding the tighter anti-epidemic measures, which allow only two people to gather or eat together in public.

Cluster of infections from dance venues now has around 500 cases

To ease the effects on businesses that have been ordered to shut down for the time being, the government is considering giving out subsidies again to prevent large-scale unemployment and bankruptcies.
Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

However, Mrs Lam noted that the government had already allocated $310 billion to fight the epidemic earlier.

Referring to the recent outbreak at the Kwai Shing public housing estate, the city’s leader said the government may not have acted quickly enough to compel residents to undergo testing and prevent them from leaving their houses.

She said the Executive Council will pass a new law to require those who need to undergo mandatory virus testing to remain at their designated premises before the results are obtained. 

"If we could speed up the making of a particular piece of legislation, which we will do today in the Executive Council, my colleagues in the public health authorities will have a better legal basis to tackle that situation. So that is the thing that we could have done better," she said.

Mandatory testing was implemented recently after a massive outbreak in dance venues across the city. It has since been used to compel those who had visited high-risk venues such as designated restaurants, construction sites and care homes, to go for tests.
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