Daily US Times: Hong Kong is introducing some of its toughest measures yet to contain the spread of the coronavirus, following a sustained peak in new cases.
Dining in restaurants is banned from Wednesday, and only two people from different households can meet each other.
Face coverings must also be worn in all public places.
Hong Kong had seen early success against Covid-19, but the city is now regularly reporting over 100 new daily cases.
Restrictions have been progressively tightened again this month with gyms, beauty parlours and bars already closed.
On Tuesday, Hong Kong confirmed another 106 coronavirus cases and reported its 23rd overall death. A record 145 cases were recorded on Monday.
Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch at the Centre for Health Protection, said: “There is no place for complacency at the moment. We still have to observe the trend,” the South China Morning Post reported.
“We have not seen an exponential growth [in infections] yet, but the figures are still worrying.”
The latest person to die from Covid-19 was a resident of a care home where at least 45 infections have been recorded.
Local scientists have voiced fears that a strain of the virus circulating in Hong Kong could cause greater damage. It is said to have not mutated for at least 22 days, meaning it could have adapted well to the human body, becoming easier to transmit.
The new measures come amid according to local media reports that elections to Hong Kong’s parliament – the Legislative Council – could be postponed by a year.
News outlets Hong Kong Economic Times, TVB and HK01 said the government had made the decision, which is yet to be formally announced, because of coronavirus concerns.
In a statement late on Tuesday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said: “We are on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak, which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly.”
She also urged people to stay indoors as much as possible as strict new measures to curb the disease’s spread take effect on Wednesday.
The new measures will be in place for at least seven days. The announcement came after the global financial hub saw a spike in locally transmitted cases over the past three weeks.
More than 2,880 people have been infected since late January in the former British colony, 23 of whom have died.
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