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Taking effect from 7 January, in the next few weeks, the city will see some of its harshest measures re-introduced as it tries to control the latest outbreak.

"The COVID-19 epidemic situation in Hong Kong has evolved drastically on the previous day. The virus has spread into the local community due to several imported cases concerning exempted aircrew members, and silent transmission chains may have already existed in the community," a Hong Kong government spokesperson said in a press release.

Restaurants will no longer be open to seated customers after 6 pm for the next two weeks. While restaurants may still supply food or drink for takeaway, these may not be eaten on the premises or nearby. Meanwhile, in-person dining during the day will be restricted to two people.

Other requirements and restrictions on catering premises will remain in force, including that all customers, when they are away from the table, must not consume food or drink and must wear a mask; and they must scan the LeaveHomeSafe (LHS) venue QR code using the LHS mobile application on their mobile phones / other mobile devices before entering the premises (excluding persons who only order takeaways).


ALSO READ: Hong Kong to expand booster programme in January


A number of places will cease operations until 20 January including bars or pubs.

Except for club-houses and hotels or guesthouses, all scheduled premises regulated under Cap. 599F as listed below must suspend operations:

  • Amusement game centres;
  • Bathhouses;
  • Fitness centres;
  • Places of amusement;
  • Places of public entertainment;
  • Premises (commonly known as party rooms) that are maintained or intended to be maintained for hire for holding social gatherings;
  • Beauty parlours;
  • Establishments (commonly known as clubs or nightclubs) that are open late into the night, usually for drinking, and dancing or other entertainment;
  • Karaoke establishments;
  • Mahjong-tin kau premises;
  • Massage establishments;
  • Sports premises;
  • Swimming pools;
  • cruise ships (i.e. suspension of "cruise-to-nowhere" itineraries); and
  • Event premises. 

The mandatory mask-wearing requirement will be extended for a period of 14 days from January 7 to January 20. Mass events and group gatherings will stop. Unless exempted, the prohibition on group gatherings of more than four persons in public places will continue during the 14-day period from January 7 to January 20. All local tours will be suspended.

The government has encouraged businesses to implement work from home measures.

"I would encourage private companies to allow their employees, wherever possible, to work from home, because the ultimate objective is to reduce people flow, to reduce congestion on public transport and hence to reduce the chance of infection," Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at a press conference.

A number of flight routes have also been suspended from 8 January to 21 January which includes those with Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America.
 
The SAR reported 38 cases yesterday (5 January), of which 34 were imported, 3 import-related, and 1 local infection.


ALSO READ: Mandatory vaccinations for employees in Hong Kong: What employers can and cannot do


Image / 123rf

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