HK can start reopening businesses in phases: expert - RTHK
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HK can start reopening businesses in phases: expert

2020-05-04 HKT 11:02
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  • Professor David Hui says cinemas and beauty parlours can reopen first, while pubs and karaoke bars should be the last to reopen. Photo: RTHK
    Professor David Hui says cinemas and beauty parlours can reopen first, while pubs and karaoke bars should be the last to reopen. Photo: RTHK
A member of the government's anti-epidemic team said on Monday that he thinks the government can relax social distancing measures step by step, after the SAR recorded another two days without any new Covid-19 cases.

Professor David Hui, a respiratory disease expert at Chinese University, said entertainment venues such as cinemas and beauty parlours can be reopened, but that movie-goers must wear masks and not eat inside cinemas, and beauticians should wear face masks and goggles to protect themselves.

Hui said that businesses such as bars and karaoke parlours should reopen last of all, because they are considered high-risk venues.

He also said that gyms could also be reopened, but with limits on the number of people entering, and that staff should disinfect gym equipment after every use.

“Oftentimes when you go to the gym and you go for a run [on a treadmill] you don’t wear a face mask,” he said.

“So during the periods between equipment use, they must be cleaned and disinfected, that way I think gyms can re-open so that people will be able to exercise.”

He also said that a limit on the number of people dining at a table in restaurants can be increased from the current maximum of four to up to eight people, but that restaurants should maintain a 1.5 metre distance between tables and shields between customers should still stay in place.

Hui's comments come after microbiologist professor Ho Pak-leung from Hong Kong University said he thinks the government could cancel a ban on public gatherings of more than four people once the SAR has not record a single locally-infected Covid-19 case for 28 consecutive days.

Speaking to an RTHK programme on Monday morning, Ho said the results of Hong Kong's anti-epidemic measures have been encouraging and he believes there will be clear proof in the near future to show that local transmission has stopped.

A raft of social distancing measures that forced various entertainment venues to close is due to expire on Thursday. It is not known whether the government is planning on extending the measures for a longer period of time.

The Centre for Health Protection recorded no new Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong at the weekend, with the city’s overall tally of confirmed cases standing at 1,039.

There have been no new locally-acquired infections for 14 days now. During this period, all of the reported cases involved people returning from overseas.