Asia Pacific

Hong Kong reimposes social distancing as coronavirus cases spike


Hong Kong reimposed social distancing measures on Monday to combat a sudden spike in coronavirus infections, banning more than four people from gathering in public, shuttering some businesses and restricting restaurants from catering to evening diners.

The finance hub was one of the first places to be struck by the coronavirus when it emerged from central China.

The city has had impressive success in tackling the disease with just over 1,400 infections and eight deaths. In the last two months, local transmissions had all but ended.

However, in the last two weeks a cluster of local infections has emerged and officials believe the disease is spreading undetected in the densely populated city of 7.5 million.

On Monday, city leader Carrie Lam announced fresh anti-virus measures. Alongside a ban on more than four people gathering in public, restaurants will only be able to serve takeaway food from 6pm to 5am.

Twelve types of businesses including gyms, beauty salons, nightclubs and karaoke venues must close.

Hong Kongers have widely adopted face masks to deal with the pandemic but on Monday authorities made wearing face coverings on public transport mandatory for the first time.

The new measures will be looked at again in seven days, Lam said.

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