HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam says there will be "no further relaxation" of coronavirus measures for the time being, as the authorities continue to find infections of unknown origin.
"We will need to maintain these measures for some time," Mrs Lam told a weekly news conference on Tuesday (Oct 6) before a meeting of her advisory Executive Council.
"In other words, there will in general be no further relaxation."
Hong Kong has extended outbreak control measures for weeks, including limiting gatherings to no more than four people, despite a sharp decline in cases.
The policies have drawn complaints from the city's hard-hit hospitality sector, as well as pro-democracy activists, since the restrictions have been used to limit protests against the government.
Mrs Lam argued that there was still evidence of silent pockets of infection, since more than half of the cases discovered since Sept 30 were of unknown origin.
She did not provide any timeframe for lifting the outbreak control measures, which were set to expire on Thursday.
Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan said on Tuesday afternoon that the ban on public gatherings of more than four people would remain for at least another week, though the government will allow team sports involving more people at ice-skating rinks.
"It was totally understandable to see many citizens go out during the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival long holidays," Mrs Lam said, referring to previous four-day weekend.
“But social activities will still add risks when the epidemic has not completely ended.”
"But social activities will still add risks when the epidemic has not completely ended."