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Hong Kong to limit dining, close gyms and beauty salons to curb virus

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HONG KONG : Hong Kong said yesterday the city would once again ban dining in restaurants after 6pm and close all gyms and beauty salons, to curb a rise in coronavirus cases in the densely packed financial hub.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the government would also study additional relief measures for industries affected by the latest restrictions that take effect tomorrow, having been enforced and lifted repeatedly this year.

"The situation is very worrying. This wave is more complicated and more severe than the last wave. The confirmed cases are widely spread out," Mrs Lam told reporters at a media briefing.

"If we don't control it strictly, there will be bigger risks. This time, we will roll out suppressing measures aimed at limiting foot traffic flow on the streets."

The health authorities said yesterday those arriving in Hong Kong would be required to take an extra coronavirus test three weeks after their arrival, in addition to the tests required immediately after landing and towards the end of their mandatory two-week quarantine.

Yesterday, Hong Kong recorded 100 new infections, bringing its total to more than 7,000 with 112 deaths.

The authorities last week asked most civil servants to work from home, limited gatherings to no more than two people and closed bars. But the streets were still filled with people over the weekend, Mrs Lam said.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said the government now has the power to seal off areas hit by Covid-19 for up to seven days, so that tests can be carried out on the people affected. Health officials will decide which areas to seal off and for how long. Food and basic necessities will be given to those affected.

Officials have repeatedly warned that there are more patients in critical conditions who are younger this time round. - REUTERS, THE STRAITS TIMES