Coronavirus: HK leader Carrie Lam extends social-distancing rules to cover Mid-Autumn Festival

23-Sep-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hongkongers will not be out celebrating the Mid-Autumn Festival in big numbers after the government on Tuesday extended social-distancing measures for another week, as the city expected nine new Covid-19 cases.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said while Hong Kong’s third wave of the coronavirus was gradually receding with just seven confirmed cases of unknown origin detected in the past week the city should not let its guard down.

“As I predicted a week ago, it would be difficult to further relax our social-distancing measures in a week’s time,” Lam told her weekly press briefing.

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Existing curbs including limiting to four the number of people allowed to eat out together or gather in public will now remain in place until October 1, the date of the Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day.

While restaurants could stay open until midnight, as allowed under last week’s easing of restrictions, many Hongkongers hoped to have more freedom with which to mark the festival, a time traditionally associated with large family gatherings.

Most leisure venues in the city, such as karaoke lounges and bars, reopened from Friday, subject to conditions to curb the virus’ spread.

While a day of celebration for many, National Day usually brings opposition activists to the streets in protest.

The total number of confirmed cases in the city stood at 5,038, with 103 related deaths, as of Monday, when only six cases were recorded.

It follows the trend of declining numbers of new cases in recent weeks, from more than 100 a day at one point in July.

“It shows that the third wave of the pandemic has been slowing,” Lam said, adding that more pupils were expected to return to school this week.

But referring to there still being a small number of cases with unknown origins, Lam said: “Citizens should not and cannot let down their guard.”


Category: Hong Kong

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