Govt orders to shut party rooms as 45 likely cases emerge

Local | 21 Nov 2020 11:55 am

Hong Kong is expected to see 45 Covid-19 cases today, with part rooms and live performances at bars and nightclubs banned amid an overwhelming resurgence of infections. 

If confirmed, the number will be the highest in three months since August 16 when the city recorded 74 infections.

Under the new rules, gazetted overnight on Friday, party rooms will have to close from midnight on Saturday for five days. Those who breach the regulation would face a maximun fine of HK$50,000 and six months imprisonment.

The Food and Health Bureau noted there has been a rising trend in the number of confirmed local cases with unknown sources, proving silent transmission chains in the community. 

The closure came as a worrying cluster involving the Starlight Dance Club in Wan Chai emerges, with at least seven visitors having tested preliminary positive.

On Friday, the city reported an alarming spike of more than 60 new confirmed and preliminary cases, of which nine were untraceable. There were also more than 40 people tested preliminary positive. 

“In view of the latest public health risk assessment, in particular the higher risks brought about by activities conducted without wearing masks, as well as various social activities as shown in recent cases, we are of the view that it is now necessary to further tighten social distancing measures,” a spokesman of the bureau said. 

He urged the public to stay home as much as possible, and avoid to dining out and unnecessary social activities. 

Meanwhile, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the administration was looking at other measures to combat an upsurge in coronavirus cases, including using its new power to force people to undergo tests, as well as offering a one-off allowance to encourage people to take tests.

The government has ramped up social distancing measures on November 14, when it ordered bars and restaurants to reduce seating capacity from 75 percent to 50 percent and reduce the number of customers at each table from six to four.

In a social media post, Lam said government offcials met on Friday night to approve tighter anti-pandemic measures, and the adminstration's priority is to cut the chain of transmission as soon as possible.

She said relevant departments had been asked to implement mandatory testing for high-risk groups, as well as making it easier for the public to take voluntary tests. 

As of Friday, the city's official tally was 5,517, which included 108 related deaths.

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