No easing of control measures in Hong Kong yet

HONG KONG • Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam yesterday said there would 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 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 at no more than four people, despite a sharp decline in cases.

The policies have drawn complaints from the hard-hit hospitality sector, and democracy activists as the restrictions have been used to limit anti-government protests.

Mrs Lam argued that there was still evidence of silent pockets of infection, with more than half of the cases discovered since Sept 30 being of unknown origin.

She did not provide any time frame for lifting the outbreak control measures, which were set to expire tomorrow.

Food and Health Secretary Sophia Chan said yesterday 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 the previous four-day weekend. "But social activities will still add risks when the epidemic has not completely ended."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 07, 2020, with the headline 'No easing of control measures in HK yet'. Subscribe