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Govt says venues will reopen & gathering rules relaxed after holidays

10 February 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Dr Chan (4th from left) led the briefing of health officials

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan has confirmed plans to relax the stringent social gathering rules after the Lunar New Year, saying the easing of restrictions will start on Feb 18, barring unforeseen events like a new surge in Covid-19 cases.

Chan made the announcement today, Feb. 10, as the Centre for Health Protection announced a new low of 17 cases in the latest wave of coronavirus infections, all of them locally acquired.  Fewer than 20 preliminary positive cases were reported.

Yesterday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam first brought up the plan to ease restrictions, citing the drastic reduction in the number of coronavirus cases.

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Among the measures being planned are the reopening of venues like bars, gyms, theme parks, cinemas, theatres, and other amusement centres. Indoor sports facilities are also on the list, following yesterday’s move to reopen outdoor sports venues.

Social distancing measures will be relaxed to allow up to four people to gather and dine together in public, from the current limit of two to a group. Dine-in services will be extended, from 6pm to 10pm.

However, all diners will be required to download the LeaveHomeSafe tracing app or have their personal information recorded before being allowed in.

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Business establishments, on the other hand, will be required to ensure better ventilation in their premises. Their staff will also have to be tested every 14 days, with the first one to be done within seven days before the expected reopening of Feb 18.

Bars are among those that will reopen, but it's not clear if live music will resume

Chan also said all public services will resume in full on the same day. 

“If we don’t see any huge changes (in the number of coronavirus cases), we will seek approval from the Executive Council,” she said.

Chan hailed the government’s recent effort to step up its anti-virus campaign a success, citing figures showing that the number of infections dropped to 30 per day over the past week, compared with 75 at the peak of the latest wave on Jan 24.


She also said the ambush lockdowns, or what are officially called RTDs or Restricted Testing Directive, succeeded in pinpointing hidden infections, thus preventing their further spread in the community.

“Based on the current trend, after Chinese New Year, we hope to get back on our feet,” she said.

But to ensure plans do not go awry, she reiterated a call on people not to let their guards down during the coming holidays.

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 “Stay at home to reduce social gatherings.  If there must be family gatherings, wear masks and do not dine together,” she said.

People are advised to avoid gathering and eating together during Chinese New Year

Among the new cases, 13 were linked to previous cases while four were untraceable.

Two confirmed patients passed away during the past 24 hours. First to succumb was an 87-year-old male patient who was declared dead at about 7pm last night at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The second was 88 years old, female, who passed on at Kwong Wah Hospital earlier today.

As of 9am today, 450 confirmed patients were being treated at 24 public hospitals and the treatment facility at AsiaWorld Expo. They include 22 who are in critical condition, 21 in serious condition, and the remaining 407 in stable condition.




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