The Hong Kong government is to reintroduce a limit on the number of customers per table at restaurants to no more than eight following a surge in local coronavirus infections.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said at a Thursday press conference that catering businesses will be required to operate at a 60 per cent seating capacity, whilst bars and pubs are to accommodate a maximum of four people per table. The measures will be in place from July 11 to 24.

Photo: GovHK.

The announcement came as health authorities recorded 34 additional local infections – 23 of whom were linked to a cluster at an elderly home in Tsz Wan Shan – alongside eight imported ones. They brought the city’s total to 1,365 cases, including seven deaths.

“The coronavirus disease will not disappear in a short time. Governments and citizens in different places have to coexist with the virus for a period of time in the future,” Chan said. “It is inevitable for us to change our lifestyles, accept that this is the new normal, and adjust our social and economic activities.”

Hong Kong’s three week run of only imported cases ended on Saturday after a 59-year-old man with no recent travel history tested positive for Covid-19.

First detected in China’s Hubei province, Covid-19 has infected more than 12 million people worldwide and led to at least 548,822 deaths, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.