It is too early to tell whether Hong Kong has reached the peak of its third wave of coronavirus infections, health authorities said on Wednesday, as the city saw a record 113 new daily cases.

Health secretary Sophia Chan earlier confirmed the government would extend mandatory mask-wearing on public transport to cover all indoor venues. The two-week measure will come into force on Thursday.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan (right). Photo: GovHK.

Chan also announced that travellers from the US and Kazakhstan would have to present a negative Covid-19 test result before boarding a flight back to Hong Kong.

The resurgence prompted authorities shutter select businesses and roll back plans to relax social distancing measures under its “suppress and lift” strategy. Public health experts have warned a stay-at-home order may be necessary to prevent large-scale community outbreaks.

At a separate press conference, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease breach of the Centre for Health Protection, urged residents to avoid public outings for the coming fortnight: “We don’t know if we have reached a peak, we can only say it is a peak when we have passed it.”

Eight of the newly confirmed cases were imported, including three domestic workers returning from the Philippines and airline crew from India and Kazakhstan, while the remaining 105 were locally transmitted, propelling the city’s case toll to 2,131 with 14 deaths.

Hong Kong's health chief Sophia Chan is meeting the press with a Covid-19 update.

HKFP_Live: Hong Kong's health chief Sophia Chan is meeting the press with a Covid-19 update.

Posted by Hong Kong Free Press HKFP on Tuesday, 21 July 2020

Chuang also confirmed a pregnant woman who returned a preliminary positive Covid-19 test gave birth on Wednesday in a negative pressure ward. The infectious disease expert said although the chance of virus transmission from mother to newborn was low, both parties had been separated and further tests had been arranged.

Sports Institute measures

Separately, HKFP has learned the Hong Kong Sports Institute has reversed its decision to impose a lockdown, which was set to begin on Wednesday. Athletes would train as usual while following precautionary measures to minimise the risk of exposure to Covid-19.

Photo: May James/HKFP.

They are not allowed to eat in restaurants outside the Fo Tan training base or have social gatherings outside the premises. They also cannot enter the HKSI between 8 pm and 8 am unless they have prior approval from their coaches.

Additional reporting: Kelly Ho

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Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.