News Alerts

08 Apr 2020 | 06:00 AM UTC

Hong Kong: Authorities extend social distancing measures until April 23 /update 21

Hong Kong, SAR China News Alert

Hong Kong extends social distancing restrictions to prevent spread of COVID-19 until April 23; abide by all government directives

TIMEFRAME expected from 4/7/2020, 12:00 AM until 4/24/2020, 11:59 PM (Asia/Hong_Kong). COUNTRY/REGION Hong Kong

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Event

On Wednesday, April 8, the Hong Kong government announced that it will be extending social distancing restrictions until Thursday, April 23, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The extension will apply to the closure of bars, pubs, gyms, cinemas, mah-jong parlours, karaoke lounges, nightclubs, and other places of public entertainment. In addition, authorities have also added beauty salons and massage parlours to the list of places that will be affected by the closure. An earlier ban on gatherings of more than four people in both indoor and outdoor public venues such as restaurants will also be extended until April 23.

An existing entry ban on non-residents has been extended indefinitely as a precautionary measure. The measure, which took effect on Wednesday, March 25, bars non-residents, including transit passengers, from entering the special administrative region. Travelers arriving from mainland China, Macau, or Taiwan are exempt from the restriction provided they have not traveled abroad in the 14 days prior. Meanwhile, all border crossings with China continue to remain closed indefinitely, apart from the Shenzhen Bay Checkpoint and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. Additionally, all ferry crossings between China, Hong Kong, and Macau have been suspended.

To date, there are more than 936 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hong Kong, with four associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the virus.

 

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