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People's Daily Online

Hong Kong to relax social distancing measures amid dropping new infections

People's Daily Online

(Xinhua) 16:52, September 08, 2020

HONG KONG, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Hong Kong announced Tuesday the further relaxation of social distancing measures as the COVID-19 epidemic showed signs of abating.

Starting Friday, the cap on group gatherings will be loosened to four people from two for seven days and the number of diners allowed to sit together at restaurants will also be raised to four, Sophia Chan, secretary for food and health of the government of China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), said at a press briefing Tuesday noon.

Some entertainment venues including mahjong parlors and game centers will also reopen from Friday, Chan added.

However, high-risk premises, including party rooms, night clubs and swimming pools, will temporarily remain shut, but the government will reopen them in the next phase unless the epidemic situation reverses, Chan said.

The COVID-19 spread has slowed down significantly in Hong Kong with new local infections on a losing streak. Hong Kong reported 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday.

Hong Kong has found 16 COVID-19 patients through a universal community testing program launched a week ago. As far, about 1.2 million people have participated in the program.

Also at the press conference, Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development of the HKSAR government Edward Yau said Hong Kong is in discussion with 11 countries to launch travel bubbles, including Germany, Japan and Thailand, and suggested the use of health codes to facilitate the travel opening-up.

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