Govt has more tools to fight virus: Bernard Chan - RTHK
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Govt has more tools to fight virus: Bernard Chan

2020-04-05 HKT 10:16
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  • A jogger passes a banner displaying health advice at Tsim Sha Tsui. Executive Council Bernard Chan says the SAR has scope for more action to battle the pandemic. File photo: Reuters
    A jogger passes a banner displaying health advice at Tsim Sha Tsui. Executive Council Bernard Chan says the SAR has scope for more action to battle the pandemic. File photo: Reuters
The convenor of the Executive Council, Bernard Chan, said on Sunday that Hong Kong still has room to bring in more stringent measures to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Speaking on RTHK's Letter to Hong Kong, he said that, although the government had further tightened border controls, more Hong Kong residents - who may have the virus - will be allowed to return in the coming weeks.

Chan said the SAR government had further options available, including the possibility of limiting "restaurants to selling take-out only" or simply imposing a much bigger lockdown across the city until all non-essential businesses closed "so nearly everyone stays home most of the time for a few weeks".

"It would obviously add to the economic cost," Chan said.

"It could also risk spreading panic but we have to accept that it may be necessary if the alternative is the risk of something worse."

The government on Thursday ordered all bars and pubs to close down for two weeks, in the latest of a series of mandatory closures targeting entertainment venues in a broadening effort to stem the Covid-19 outbreak. The order took effect at 6pm on Friday, and violators face six months in prison and a maximum fine of HK$50,000.

The order came less than a week after bars and pubs, along with all restaurants across the territory, were ordered to impose new restrictions, including limiting the number of customers inside to half the maximum capacity, and providing hand sanitiser to patrons.

And just a day before, the government extended a 14-day ban on three more types of businesses - karaoke lounges, night clubs and mahjong parlours - on top of an earlier closure of six other types of premises including cinemas, game arcades and ice rinks.

There was a noticably smaller turnout at many Hong Kong cemeteries on Saturday as people heeded official advice not to gather in large groups for tomb-sweeping on the Ching Ming Festival.

Under new laws people can't pay tribute to their ancestors in groups of more than four, unless they all live together.