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CE says social distancing rules may be relaxed after Lunar New Year

09 February 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

CE Lam says it's hoped HK will return to normal after Chinese New Year

Chief Executive Carrie Lam says the government hopes the situation in Hong Kong will “go back to normal” after the Lunar New Year, amid signs the latest coronavirus outbreak in the city has subsided.

Speaking ahead of the start of the Executive Council meeting this morning, the top official said some businesses that were told to close as part of anti-epidemic measures could reopen, but did not say what these are.

Among those to be shut first were the bars, karaokes, gyms and other places where close interaction among guests and staff was unavoidable. Also closed down were amusement parks, theaters, beaches, and other venues that attract large crowds.

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But Lam said her first concern was to resume classes, saying she was told by experts that the lack of face-to-face interaction during studies has a big impact on students.

“After the Chinese New Year holidays we do hope that Hong Kong will start to get back to normal. I would also like to add that you should not feel disheartened. Since the last outbreak happened in late November…it’s been over two months…the situation has been quite turbulent, but we have seen signs that the outbreak is subsiding,” she said.


The CE advises people to avoid gathering, even for family events, during the Lunar New Year

The CE pointed out that the number of new cases in the past week had gone down to an average of 26 per day, which she described as “a low two-digit level.” The average number of untraceable infections also fell to just seven a day.

Another sign of the easing of infection was the drop in the reproductive rate of the virus, which pertains to how many other people a patient was likely to infect. From more than 3 persons per patient, it is now down to 0.6.

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Lam also pointed out that during the ambush lockdowns that started two Sundays ago, more that 24,000 coronavirus tests were carried out among residents, and only four positive cases had been identified, which she said, was “actually a good sign.”

She said the lockdowns – officially referred to as RTDs or Restriction Testing Declaration – will not be conducted over the upcoming holidays.

Barring unforeseen events, she said “we will not do any RTD operation during the Chinese New Year holiday.”


Still, she reminded people not to let their guard down, to reduce their activities outside including family gatherings, and to always wear masks.

At the same press briefing, the CE said a Hong Kong citizen who holds a second passport will  not be given consular protection by the other government while he/she is in the SAR, in line with the provisions of the Vienna Convention.

“If that particular person is in one of the places or countries (where) he possesses one of his national status, then he will not be eligible for this sort of consular protection including consular visits,” she said.

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Lam added the China’s National People’s Congress decided way back in 1996 that dual nationals would be regarded as Chinese citizens in Hong Kong after the handover, regardless of whether they hold a second passport.

Her remarks came after the British consulate said it may not be able to extend help to people who hold both British and SAR passports while they’re in Hong Kong.



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