Coronavirus: Hong Kong imposes new Covid-19 restrictions as fourth wave hits

  • Restaurants will be closed after 6pm and all fitness centres and beauty salons will have to shut from midnight on Thursday
  • Testing kits will be distributed at public clinics, post offices and MTR stations
Susan Ramsay |

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No more dinner at restaurants for at least the next two weeks. Photo: SCMP / Sam Tsang

From midnight Thursday, Hongkongers will not be able to eat at restaurants after 6pm, and banquets will only be able to have 20 guests. All fitness and beauty centres have to shut. Civil servants are working from home. Students are learning from home. And people who live in high-risk neighbourhoods will be forced to wait at home to be tested.

Five more testing centres will be added to the nine already open. More testing kits, 40,000 a day, will be distributed at public clinics, post offices, and MTR stations.

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As Hongkongers hunker down for the fourth wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, the outlook seems gloomy. While Russia and Britain rocket ahead with vaccinating their citizens, Hong Kong seems to have no realistic chance of getting everyone vaccinated before 2022.

Professor David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory medicine expert at Chinese University and government adviser on the pandemic, gave an idea when the city could expect to receive vaccine supplies. “If we are lucky, by the third quarter of next year, we will start seeing the first batches of vaccines arrive, and I believe by around 2022, the chance for all Hongkongers to be vaccinated should be quite high,” he said.

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Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor yesterday said the fourth wave was very worrying. She urged people to work from home and to cancel their social activities. She said Hongkongers had not been as careful about travelling this time as they had been during the third wave in July and August. Judging by the number of people still using Octopus cards to travel, there hasn’t been as much of a drop this time around.

Lam said people have to stay at home, for their own good, and for their families and other Hongkongers.

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The city is preparing for a return of travellers for the Christmas season. Everyone returning to the 852 will have to quarantine for 14 days in a hotel. They will have to have a swab test, instead of the saliva test which might not be very reliable.

Hong Kong was set to record 103 cases today. As of Monday, the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong stood at 6,975, with 112 related deaths.

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