Hong Kong will ban dining at restaurants completely and mandate masks in all public places, as the city battles a worsening coronavirus outbreak that has infected over 1,000 people in the last two weeks.
The tightened measures will be effective for one week from Wednesday. They are an extension of a previous ban on eating at restaurants and eateries after 6 pm in the evening, as well as making it mandatory by law to wear masks on public transport.
A ban on public gatherings of more than four people has also been furthered tightened, with gatherings limited to two people.
Bars, beauty salons and amusement game centres will remain closed, and swimming pools and sports venues will be closed from Wednesday. Eateries and restaurants will be allowed to provide takeout services to customers.
“This is so far the most challenging, the most critical wave of transmission Hong Kong. So the next two to three weeks will be critical, we need to prevent the further spread of the disease in the community,” said Matthew Cheung, Hong Kong's chief secretary for administration.
The city has reported a total of 2,634 infections as of Sunday. The government on Monday announced that two more patients had died, taking the coronavirus death toll in Hong Kong to 20.
Over the last two weeks, 1,164 people were infected with the coronavirus, a majority of which were locally transmitted. The surge in cases is the highest in Hong Kong so far, after the city reported several weeks of no locally transmitted cases in the months of May and June.