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No quick end to pandemic restrictions, govt warns

2021-02-16 HKT 18:17
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  • No quick end to pandemic restrictions, govt warns
Health Secretary Sophia Chan says the government will go ahead with a plan to relax social distancing measures on February 18, but it's unlikely that the rules will be loosened further anytime soon.

Chan said that since the number of new coronavirus cases has continued to remain low in recent days, restaurants will able to provide dine-in services until 10pm from Thursday, and some businesses, including cinema, gyms and beauty parlours will be allowed to reopen on condition that staff get tested every fortnight.

Speaking at a press briefing on Tuesday, Chan said authorities will keep a close eye on whether there’s a resurgence of Covid-19 cases now the Lunar New Year holiday is over, before deciding when social distancing rules can be further relaxed.

“I don’t think the next phase of relaxation will be very soon,” she added.

Restaurants and other businesses will be required to use the government's Covid tracing app or record their customers' personal information.

Any restaurants that violate the rules will be banned from providing dine-in services in the evening for up to two weeks, while business owners who don't comply may be fined and jailed.

A maximum of four people will be able to sit together at one table in a restaurant, but Chan said the limit on public gatherings will remain at two people.

She did not answer a question on when schools will resume classes.

The number of new coronavirus cases in Hong Kong stayed in the single digits for two consecutive days, but authorities said on Tuesday that about 20 people had tested preliminary positive for the virus.