Published: 00:36, July 28, 2020 | Updated: 21:30, June 5, 2023
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HK sees new high in virus cases
By Gu Mengyan in Hong Kong

Hong Kong hit a record single-day high of 145 new coronavirus cases on Monday, continuing a six-day streak of daily rises of more than 100, as the government toughened social distancing rules for the third time in the latest outbreak.

The new infections included three imported cases and an all-time high of 142 locally transmitted cases, bringing the city’s total to 2,778. More than 60 people also tested preliminarily positive, according to the Centre for Health Protection.

Hong Kong hit a record single-day high of 145 new coronavirus cases on Monday, bringing the city’s total to 2,778

The latest figures came shortly after Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung announced that dining in the city’s restaurants will be banned for one week starting Wednesday, as infection clusters continued to expand among diners.

Meanwhile, a ban on public gatherings of more than two people will also take effect on Wednesday, along with an expansion of the mask-wearing mandate to cover outdoor places.

Sports venues and swimming pools will also be shut, adding to a list of closed businesses that includes bars and leisure venues.

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Although defending the tougher anti-epidemic measures, Cheung reiterated the government will not impose a curfew-like lockdown barring residents from leaving their homes because many people have to go out for necessities and such a ban would severely hurt economic activities.

Cheung reassured that the central government will spare no efforts to support the city’s fight against the current outbreak, including mass virus testing and retrofitting of the AsiaWorld-Expo into a temporary hospital with 2,000 beds.

A spokesman for the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council said on Monday that the central government is ready to help boost the city’s virus testing capacity and build a temporary hospital.

The spokesman called on all sectors of Hong Kong society to support and cooperate with  authorities from the mainland, so that they can focus on reining in the latest outbreak.

A day earlier, a spokesman for the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region dismissed “politically driven” and “shameless” rumors that “mainland medical teams will send gene samples of Hong Kong people to the mainland” and that “the diagnosis centers of mainland institutions may spread the epidemic”.

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The Hong Kong government said on Monday it will expand its free virus testing for vulnerable groups to wet market workers, public minibus drivers and residents of Tsz Wan Shan, the hardest-hit district in the third wave of the outbreak.

The decision was revealed as the city reported its 19th and 20th COVID-related deaths on Monday — a 76-year-old woman and a 92-year-old man who were residents of Tsz Wan Shan.