The beaches dotting Hong Kong’s shorelines will soon reopen to the public, the city’s officials said Tuesday, as the drop in coronavirus infections led to a further relaxation of social-distancing measures.
Critics had faulted the government for shutting down Hong Kong’s beaches in July as part of its response to the virus, despite the risks of infection being lower in outdoor spaces. Many people have flocked to the mountains and other spots away from the concrete jungle for fresh air.
Hong Kong’s seven-day average of locally transmitted cases has gradually decreased since mid-October, said Sophia Chan, the city’s health secretary. The number of people allowed at each table in restaurants will increase to six from four starting Friday, Ms. Chan said, even though the limit on public gatherings will remain at four people. Bars and nightclubs may also seat up to four people per table.
Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s leader, on Tuesday said her government is planning to make Covid-19 testing compulsory for people with symptoms and other groups at risk of contracting the virus. With the help of China’s central government, Hong Kong had previously rolled out free and voluntary tests for its 7.5 million residents in September, but less than a quarter of its population took part. Some activists had voiced concerns that the testing program could be used for collecting people’s DNA samples — charges the government has vigorously denied.
Hong Kong recorded five new cases on Tuesday, all of which were imported.
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