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Hong Kong restrictions to curb case surge

Passengers on Hong Kong's Star Ferry must wear a face mask from July 15.

Following several days of creeping case numbers in Hong Kong, the government stepped in last night (July 13) and announced a number of measures aimed at containing the city's so-called ‘third wave’.

The restrictions include requiring arrivals in Hong Kong from high-risk countries to undergo a COVID-19 test before boarding their flight. Foreign Domestic Helpers arriving from the Philippines and Indonesia will also require a negative medical certificate and will be expected to quarantine in a hotel for 14 days.

All air and sea crew entering Hong Kong will need to obtain a negative coronavirus result prior to arrival.

All flight arrivals continue to be required to quarantine for 14 days and those arriving from India, Pakistan, South Africa and Nepal will be expected to quarantine at government facilities. An additional 1,500 quarantine units at a facility in Penny Bay and 90 units in Sai Kung are expected to be opened soon. The quarantine facility at Fo Tan that was expected to be returned to public housing use on August 1 may now remain as a quarantine facility for an extended period.

A total of 52 new cases had been announced earlier in the day, including 41 local infections. Twenty-one cases were linked to previous cases but 20 were deemed to have unknown sources.

On Friday, schools were closed for a second time this year as cases began to rise. Summer recess was due to begin for local schools at the end of the month while most international schools are already on summer vacation and not due to restart until mid- or late-August.

The new wave of restrictions comes into force on July 15 and will include the closure of popular theme parks Disneyland Resort Hong Kong and Ocean Park, both of which reopened just weeks ago.

Further measures include the closure of all restaurants from 6pm to 5am (venues will be allowed to provide a take-out service) and a reduction to 50% of capacity. Gatherings of more than four people will be banned and restaurants must seat no more than four diners to a table.

Wearing a mask on public transport will be mandatory, with a HK$5,000 fine for anyone who doesn’t comply.

Venues including gyms, cinemas, spas and beauty salons, karaoke halls, children’s playgrounds, mahjong parlours and nightclubs must close.

The government will also temporarily shutter all outdoor leisure facilities, including tennis courts, bowling greens, running tracks, turf pitches, swimming pools, beaches, water sports centres and holiday camps.

The measures will be reassessed in seven days.


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