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Virus curbs extended as new cases emerge

2020-06-02 HKT 16:47
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  • Virus curbs extended as new cases emerge
The government on Tuesday extended an eight-person limit on public gatherings until June 18, while also prolonging restrictions on arrivals from overseas.

The move comes after a fresh cluster of Covid-19 cases erupted in the past few days, with several patients all linked to a 34-year-old woman who works in Kwai Chung and lives in Sha Tin.

The woman had not been abroad recently and Hong Kong University microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung has warned that she may be a "super-spreader" of the virus.

Health officials said at a briefing that four women aged between 56 and 78 who live in the same block as the woman have now also been diagnosed with Covid-19.

The woman's husband, two of her colleagues, and a paramedic who treated her, had all earlier come down with the virus.

Meanwhile, Tuesday saw another two confirmed coronavirus cases in the city, involving a 15-year-old boy who returned from Pakistan last month, and a 42-year-old woman who had been taking care of an elderly relative in a quarantine centre.

The new cases brought Hong Kong's total to date to 1,093.

The eight-person limit on public gatherings was due to expire on Thursday night before the latest extension.

Health Secretary Sophia Chan denied there were any political considerations involved in keeping the gathering limit in place, amid accusations the administration is using the law to deter protests and assemblies like the annual June 4 vigil.

"We are considering different factors based on public health and not other considerations," she said.

"The local cluster developed two days ago. That was something that was not planned, but we have to deal with it, in terms of being a responsible public health department."

Chan also announced that a ban on foreign non-residents entering the SAR, that was due to expire on June 18, will be extended until September 18.

The only exception will be for foreigners who have been in the mainland, Macau or Taiwan for 14 days before their arrival in Hong Kong, with residents of these places also allowed in if they haven't travelled elsewhere in the past two weeks.

Such arrivals would still have to undergo 14 days of quarantine, a measure which also applies to Hong Kong residents returning home.