Beaches will reopen as Hong Kong government relaxes some Covid-19 social distancing rules

  • More people will be allowed to sit together at bars and restaurants as the number of coronavirus cases drops in the city
  • An app that would notify people of their risk of exposure to the virus will be available to the public in two weeks
South China Morning Post |

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People eat lunch inside Haiphong Road Temporary Cooked Food Hawker Bazaar in Tsim Sha Tsui. Photo: SCMP/ Winson Wong

Beaches will reopen and the number of people allowed to sit together in bars and restaurants will increase as Hong Kong's government further relaxes some of its social-distancing measures. 

A source said the government would change the rules to allow six people to sit together in restaurants, up from four, while four people would be able to sit at the same table in bars and pubs, up from two.

The new arrangements are expected to come into effect on Friday.

On Tuesday morning, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the reopening of beaches would be among the changes to social distancing that would be announced in the afternoon. 

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“We don’t have the criteria to relax the social-distancing measures to a large extent, but there would be some adjustments,” Lam said before her weekly meeting with the Executive Council. 

“The adjustment would be … based on how we could maintain epidemic control while allowing more economic activities for our businesses.” 

According to a medical source, there were no local cases among the latest infections to be registered. As of Monday, the city had 5,303 confirmed cases, with 105 related deaths. 

Public beaches have been closed since July when the third wave of Covid-19 infections hit Hong Kong. 

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In regards to a proposal by medical experts for mandatory virus testing of people with mild symptoms, Lam said work needed to be done on the city’s current disease prevention and control law. 

“We need to do it with targets,” Lam said. “Generally speaking, we would target people with symptoms, or those from groups with outbreaks, premises, or areas at higher risk of infection.” 

An app which could notify users of their risks of exposure to Covid-19 was also expected to be available for public use in the next two weeks, Lam added.

“The app would bring convenience to the public to record their whereabouts,” she said. 

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