Hong Kong is imposing strict new Covid-19 control measures for the first time in almost a year as the highly transmissible omicron variant seeps into the community and threatens to spur a winter wave.
The city will ban dining-in after 6 p.m., close some venues including bars and gyms, eliminate large-scale events and halt all flights from eight countries, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at a briefing on Wednesday. The new rules return to social distancing restrictions that were in place a year ago and eased after Chinese New Year in 2021 when infections were ebbing.
The eight countries from which no flights will be allowed to land for the next two weeks are Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the U.K. and the U.S., places with the worst omicron spread currently, Lam said.
The tightening comes as the Asian financial hub this week preliminarily reported the first local coronavirus case that officials were unable to trace to its source. The patient, an unvaccinated man who developed symptoms before being diagnosed, is believed to be carrying the omicron variant that has triggered exponential spread of Covid-19 across the globe.
Hong Kong is one of the only places in the world that hasn’t experienced a delta outbreak. It has maintained a strict Covid Zero policy, designed to eliminate all traces of the virus within its borders. The arrival of omicron, which triggered the first local transmission in nearly seven months, is testing the limits of its power.
The growing number of omicron cases and a looming expansion of the vaccine mandate has enlivened the city’s stagnant immunization rollout. While 66% of the city’s population has received a first injection, just 22% of the over-80 population have started the immunization process.
Besides bars and gyms, other venues to be closed for at least two weeks from Jan. 7 include:
- amusement centers
- party rooms
- beauty and massage parlors
- nightclubs, karaoke and mahjong outlets
- swimming pools
Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2TwO8Gm
Subscribe to our newest channel Quicktake Explained: https://bit.ly/3iERrup
Bloomberg Quicktake brings you live global news and original shows spanning business, technology, politics and culture. Make sense of the stories changing your business and your world.
To watch complete coverage on Bloomberg Quicktake 24/7, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/qt/live,
or watch on Apple TV, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Fire TV and Android TV on the Bloomberg app.
Have a story to tell? Fill out this survey for a chance to have it featured on Bloomberg Quicktake: https://cor.us/surveys/27AF30
Connect with us on…
Breaking News on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/BloombergQu...