Residents in Hong Kong participate in the coronavirus universal community testing program on Tuesday. About 580,000 people have signed up for the testing online so far. Photo: VCG
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government on Tuesday extended social distancing restrictions for another week till Oct. 15, while expressing concerns about the probable worsening of local COVID-19 infections.
The curbs include no more than four people at public gatherings and mandatory mask-wearing in public transport and places. But Team ice-skating involving more than four people will be allowed starting from Oct. 9.
Hong Kong reported eight new infections, including five local cases on Tuesday. Over the past seven days, 10 local cases, including seven with unknown infection sources, were seen across Hong Kong.
The Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan, said the recent spike in cases could lead to another wave of the epidemic sooner than expected if anti-virus measures were not observed strictly.
HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday also urged the public to remain vigilant and the HKSAR government will continue to be prepared.
She also mentioned that the government is studying to exempt some Hong Kong residents in the mainland from the 14-day compulsory quarantine after returning to Hong Kong, so as to facilitate them to carry out work, medical visits, family visits and other activities.
According to Hong Kong's Hospital Authority, 117 patients are still hospitalized, including 10 in critical condition. The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong has totaled 5,132.