HEALTHCARE | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Social distancing measures extended until 17 March

This is in light of the active silent transmission in the community, the Food and Health Bureau said.

The government has extended the implementation of strict social distancing measures from 4 March until 17 March as the COVID-19 situation remains volatile.

A spokesperson for the Food and Health Bureau said the gradual easing of social distancing measures on 18 February led to the transmission of COVID-19 in certain areas.

“A number of confirmed cases were found in certain districts over a short period of time, which showed that silent transmission in the community is still active,” the spokesperson said.

“Taking into account the latest public health risk assessment, there is no room for further relaxation of measures at this stage. The Government will therefore maintain most of the existing requirements and restrictions applicable to catering business premises and scheduled premises, as well as the requirements for group gatherings and mask wearing for 14 days until March 17, 2021,” the spokesperson added.

Catering businesses will also be required to appoint staff for the cleaning of used utensils and disinfecting used tables and partitions. The regular testing of staff in the catering business will also continue to help prevent the silent transmission.

The government and the Hospital Authority have increased contractors to test citizens and allow them to get results within two days.

"In the past two weeks, citizens who have undertaken tests with professional nasopharyngeal swab and combined nasal and throat swab at Community Testing Centres (CTCs) or mobile specimen collection stations could basically receive testing results in one to two days,” a spokesperson for the Food and Health Bureau said.

“More than 30 000 quotas are available at CTCs daily, and the booking rate for the coming seven days is only about 27 per cent. Employees of the construction sector and staff of catering business premises and scheduled premises can receive free testing with online booking," the spokesperson added.

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