Published: 17:12, September 30, 2022 | Updated: 22:58, September 30, 2022
Hong Kong to ease social distancing rules from Oct 6
By ​Wang Zhan & Reuters

People have lunch at a restaurant in Hong Kong, April 14, 2022. The Hong Kong government on Friday announced easing of some social distancing measures from Oct 6. (KIN CHEUNG / AP)

HONG KONG – The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said on Friday it aims to ease some coronavirus curbs in an orderly way as pandemic trends in the Asian financial hub were continuing to stabilize.

From Oct 6, some social distancing measures will be relaxed, including raising the maximum number of persons per table in restaurants to 12 from eight, while banquets will be allowed to have up to 240 people attending, compared with 120 now.

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Bars, pubs, and nightclubs meanwhile will be able to serve up to six people per table from the current four. However, diners in groups of more than 12 and those going to bars will still have to present a negative rapid antigen test result upon entry, local media reported.

On Friday, the city’s health authorities recorded 4,023 new COVID-19 cases and eight COVID-related deaths

The 12-person rule will also apply to premises like party rooms and karaoke lounges.

The SAR authorities also announced the scrapping of the suspension mechanism imposed on the cruise industry, which forces their ships to return to port if a suspected COVID-19 infection is detected on board.

The announcements came as the city’s health authorities recorded 4,023 new coronavirus infections and eight COVID-related deaths, bringing the city’s toll during the fifth wave to 9,948.

In a statement, the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health said the new cases comprised 3,810 local infections and 213 imported ones.

Of the locally acquired cases, 2,778 cases were identified through rapid antigen tests while the rest by nucleic acid tests.

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In a separate statement, the Hospital Authority said there were 1,762 COVID-19 patients receiving treatment at public hospitals, including 159 new admissions.

Total 23 COVID patients were in serious condition and 37 in critical condition, of whom seven were under intensive care, it added.