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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Hong Kong Covid controls may be tightened further

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Tough coronavirus rules that ban public gatherings in Hong Kong of more than two people might be tightened to stop a surge in infections, the territory’s top health official has said.

Speaking as 14 more deaths and 6,000 new cases were reported on Sunday, health secretary Sophia Chan gave no detail of what new restrictions might be brought in but she called on the public to stay at home.

Hong Kong is already operating under its strictest curbs on travel, business and public activity since the pandemic began.

In place since February 10, they also prohibit gatherings of more than two households. Restaurants, hair salons and religious sites have been closed.

The territory had 6,067 confirmed cases in the previous 24 hours. That was close to Thursday’s 6,116 cases, its highest daily total yet.

Chief executive Carrie Lam said last week the rapid spread of the Omicron variant is overwhelming Hong Kong hospitals. The government said on Thursday that 90% of hospital beds were filled.

To ease the pressure, construction crews from mainland China will build isolation units for 10,000 people after crowding at hospitals forced patients to wait outdoors in the cold.

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