HONG KONG: Hong Kong will reopen gyms and massage parlours and extend night-time dining hours from Friday (Sep 4), easing tough coronavirus curbs as new daily infections in the Asian financial hub drop into the single digits.
Restaurants will be allowed to stay open an hour beyond the current 9pm time, while fitness centres and places of amusement such as clubs, can reopen, said Sophia Chan, the city’s health secretary.
However, a ban on gatherings of more than two people stays, Chan added, saying that while authorities in the city were relaxing some social distancing measures, residents needed to stay vigilant.
“We have yet to see a stable situation,” she told a news briefing. “Everyone must maintain a certain degree of social distancing.”
READ: Hong Kong to resume face-to-face school classes by late September
The announcement came as China’s government offered mass virus testing for Hong Kong residents from this week.
The free voluntary tests are part of an attempt to stamp out a third wave of infections that began in late June and saw the densely populated city reimpose economically painful social distancing measures.
But the programme has been hampered by a limited response due to the involvement of mainland Chinese testing firms and doctors – and swirling public fears of the harvesting of data and DNA as Beijing cracks down on calls for democratic reform.
Since registration began on Saturday, 650,000 people have signed up to take the free tests – around 9 per cent of the city’s 7.5 million population.
Hong Kong schools are to resume face-to-face teaching from Sep 23, among the easing of measures that have kept 900,000 students working at home for more than four months.
Kevin Yeung, the city’s Secretary for Education, said the resumption would be phased with grades 1, 5 and 6 resuming for secondary schools, primary schools and upper kindergartens on Sep 23, while other grades would open on Sep 29.
BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments
Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram