A man eats a takeaway meal on a chair placed outside a restaurant in the Sham Shui Po district of Hong Kong in the early morning of July 29, 2020, as new social distancing measures come into effect which include the banning of dine-in services at restaurants. (ANTHONY WALLACE / AFP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 118 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, taking the infection tally in the city to 3,002, as tighter social distancing measures and quarantine rules for sea and flight crews took effect.
The coronavirus also claimed one more life in the financial hub. In a press release, a spokesman for Queen Elizabeth Hospital said a patient diagnosed with COVID-19 died at 8:11 am Wednesday after her condition deteriorated. The 74-year-old patient, with multiple chronic diseases, became the 24th COVID-19 patient to die in Hong Kong.
Three of the five imported cases involved seafarers, said Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Center for Health Protection's Communicable Disease Branch
This is the eighth day in a row for Hong Kong to record daily new infections of more than 100. Of the 118 new cases, 113 were locally transmitted and five imported.
Among the 113 local cases, 67 cases are related to previously confirmed cases, mostly clusters concerning gatherings of families or friends, while the source of infection of the other 46 cases remained unknown, said Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Center for Health Protection's Communicable Disease Branch, at a press briefing in the afternoon.
Three of the five imported cases involved seafarers, said Chuang.
Sara Ho, a chief manager of Hong Kong's Hospital Authority, said at the briefing that the occupancy rates of negative pressure rooms and isolation beds in public hospitals have risen to 80 percent and 78.4 percent respectively.
Effective Wednesday, all dine-in services at restaurants and public gatherings of more than two people not from the same family are prohibited. Masks are also required in all outdoors and indoors public areas.
Also starting from Wednesday, crew change arrangements for passenger vessels and goods vessels without a cargo operation in Hong Kong would be suspended till the local epidemic situation is contained.
Crew rotation via Hong Kong will only be allowed for vessels bringing daily goods into the city.
Crew members will only be allowed to travel directly between their boats and the airport and vice versa, and on transport arranged by their employers.
They would not be allowed to use public transport and should wear masks during the entire journey.
Meanwhile, inbound flight crew will be required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test conducted within 48 hours prior to boarding, or they will need to be tested at Asia-World Expo upon arrival.
Airlines are also required to arrange transport for their staff to head home or to their hotel.
A government spokesman reiterated in a press release that the tightened measures are essential to maintain the necessary operation of the society and the economy while minimizing the risk of imported cases.
With inputs from Xinhua
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