Hong Kong’s New Measures Include Restaurant Capacity Cuts, Unlinked Community Cases Have Been Rising

The recent announcement of the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble (ATB) starting on 22 Nov may have brought some joy to Singaporeans who haven’t had an overseas vacation in close to a year.

Singapore to Hong Kong flight tickets under the scheme have already been sold out for 22 Nov to 30 Nov.

However, those travelling should bear in mind that Hong Kong is still grappling with Covid-19 cases, and while they might be low, it’s not out of the woods yet.

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In fact, the Hong Kong government is even imposing new safe distancing measures till 26 Nov, as unlinked community cases have been detected in the past few days.

Tightening of safe distancing measures from 16 Nov

Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said on Saturday (14 Nov) that the local government would be tightening safe distancing measures starting from Monday (16 Nov).

They will provisionally last till 26 Nov — 4 days after the first travellers from Singapore arrive in the city under the ATB.

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This is to prevent another wave of Covid-19 cases, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

The aim is to contain the spread of the virus by limiting the potential ways it could spread within the community, she added.

Measures include 4-person limit for restaurant tables

Many of the measures could affect Singaporeans in Hong Kong for holiday, especially if they’re planning to patronise restaurants and bars.

cheung fat noodles seating

Here are some of the new rules, according to the HK Covid-19 info website:

  1. Not more than 4 people allowed to dine at restaurant tables, down from 6.
  2. Not more than 2 people allowed to be at bar tables, down from 4.
  3. Restaurant dining hours cut — no food and drinks served from 12 midnight to 5am.
  4. 50% cut in capacity for restaurants and bars.

Hotels & guesthouses may be affected

The HK authorities are also planning to put hotels and guesthouses under new measures too.

For example, the number of guests in each room may be limited to 4.

However, more may be allowed if the group comprises people from the same family.

muji bedroom

Guests would also be mandated to register their details with hotels.

Mask-wearing compulsory in HK

Also, do note that like Singapore, wearing masks in public has been compulsory since July 23.

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And Hong Kong also has an existing ban on public gatherings of more than 4 people — similar to Singapore’s “rule of 5”, but more strict.

So Singaporeans who’re used to following the rules in Singapore should continue to do so in the Chinese city.

Unlinked Covid-19 cases in HK

The new measures come as Hong Kong has recorded more unlinked Covid-19 cases in the community recently.

On Saturday (14 Nov), 8 new cases were reported, and 1 of them was unlinked, according to the HK Covid-19 info website.

He’s a 58-year-old man who works as a security guard in Jordan. 2 of his family members have also preliminarily tested positive.

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The total number of Covid-19 cases in HK is now 5,444, with 108 deaths.

There were also more than 10 cases of preliminary positive results on Saturday (14 Nov), according to the SCMP.

Rise in unlinked cases worrying

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the HK Centre for Health Protection Communicable Disease Branch, said the rise in unlinked cases in HK was worrying, reported the HK Covid-19 info website.

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The centre has recorded more community cases with no links to other cases from 11 Nov to 12 Nov, she said, adding,

This indicates that there is still quite a bit of transmission in the community.

She also said it’s possible that more cases will be detected in the coming days, so the public should stay vigilant.

4 taxi drivers among recent Covid-19 cases

Many of the recent cases this week pose a threat to containing the spread in the city.

For example, 4 of them were taxi drivers and 1 was a rehabilitation bus driver, which raises the possibility that they could have passed the virus on to their passengers.

A 42-year-old salesman tested positive on Thursday (12 Nov) had held work meetings with clients and attended a wedding banquet.

1 Covid-19 case this week was also discovered to have gone for parties at 2 hotels, with 16 friends in total.

Another concern is the 10 people infected while having a staycation at a hotel in Mui Wo, according to the SCMP.

Do take precautions when visiting HK

While Singaporeans rejoice over being able to restart overseas travel to Hong Kong again, the new measures and unlinked cases should serve as reminder.

Covid-19 still exists, and is infecting people in the Chinese city.

So Singaporeans who’re travelling there shouldn’t be preoccupied with just eating and shopping. We should Take the necessary precautions and follow the new measures imposed by the local authorities as well.

Stay safe while travelling, and you can return home Covid-19-free.

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Featured image adapted from Alison Pang @ Unsplash.