HK bans dining at restaurants, public gatherings limited to 2

Updated July 27, 2020

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Hong Kong will ban dining at restaurants entirely for a week effective, while residents will no longer be allowed to assemble in groups larger than two as the city was expected to witness a a record high number of COVID-19 cases amid a resurgence, it was reported on Monday.

If confirmed, Monday would mark the sixth straight day Hong Kong has logged more than 100 new infections, reports the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper.

The new restrictions, which will include an expansion of compulsory mask-wearing to cover outdoor areas, were endorsed at a Monday morning meeting of the Executive Council, city leader Carrie Lam's de facto cabinet.

It will come into effect on Wednesday.

Only those under the age of two or with a "reasonable excuse" such as medical conditions will be exempted from the new mask regulations, with no exemption granted for exercise.

Those who flout the new rules will be subject to a maximum penalty of HK$5,000.

The number of persons allowed to gather in public spaces was previously tightened from 50 to four on July 15.

"The pandemic situation in the city continues to be severe, and confirmed cases in the past week continue to surge rapidly. We have many untraceable cases and it's difficult to eliminate the hidden transmission chain in a short period of time. We must stay alert," Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung was quoted as saying by the SCMP newspaper.

"Considering the recent developments, with cases not wearing masks and the risk of social activities, we must immediately tighten social-distancing measures," he said.

"We appeal to the public to stay at home as much as possible."

The city's overall tally of COVID-19 infections stood at 2,633 as of Monday morning, with 20 deaths.

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