Bars, theme parks to reopen as Hong Kong announces zero local COVID-19 cases

Lan Kwai Fong in Central. Photo via Hong Kong government Information Services Department
Lan Kwai Fong in Central. Photo via Hong Kong government Information Services Department

Hong Kong authorities announced the further relaxation of social distancing restrictions Tuesday amid a downward trend in new COVID-19 cases.

Venues including bars, karaoke lounges, theme parks, party rooms and swimming pools, which have been closed since the third virus wave began in early July, will reopen on Friday.

Restaurants will also be allowed to offer dine-in services until midnight, and gym goers will no longer have to wear masks while exercising.

The lifting of measures comes as the city recorded just four new COVID-19 cases, all of which are imported. This marks the first time in more than two months that Hong Kong has seen no locally transmitted infections.

Read more: Hong Kong’s battered fitness industry warns of exodus of gyms and studios if government does not step in with aid

Daily COVID-19 cases have fallen steadily in recent weeks. Including today, authorities confirmed 80 COVID-19 infections in the past seven days. Among them, 45—or just over half—were local cases.

At the peak of the third wave in late July and early August, the city was averaging over 100 cases daily.

Among the almost 1.8 million samples tested as part of the government’s community testing scheme, 42 returned positive. Authorities say the controversial scheme, which started on Sept. 1 and ended yesterday, has been effective in identifying silent transmission in the community and informing the city’s anti-epidemic efforts.

4,976 coronavirus cases have been recorded in Hong Kong to date. 101 COVID-19 patients have died of virus-related implications.

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