Hong Kong extends social distancing restrictions to contain coronavirus
FILE PHOTO: A woman runs past a banner of health advice at Tsim Sha Tsui’s tourist attraction, following the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Hong Kong, China April 2, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
April 8, 2020
HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong said on Wednesday social-distancing restrictions including the closure of some bars and pubs and a ban on public gatherings of more than four people would be extended until April 23 as it battles to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The government said a “drastic” more than two-fold spike in the number of cases in Hong Kong over the past two weeks to 936 meant the move was necessary. Four people in the former British colony have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
Other restrictions that have been extended include the closure of gyms, cinemas, mahjong parlours, karaoke lounges and nightclubs. Beauty salons and massage parlours have been added to the list.
The global financial hub has also extended indefinitely a two-week closure of its airport to foreign arrivals that was due to end on Tuesday.
While schools remain closed, many people work from home and shopping malls and restaurants are largely deserted, Hong Kong has stopped short of a full lockdown imposed in other cities such as London and New York.
The extension of restrictions comes as the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the disease is believed to have originated, started to allow people to leave on Wednesday for the first time since it was locked down 76 days ago to contain the novel coronavirus.
(Reporting By Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)