The number of new Covid-19 infections in Hong Kong has touched a six-week low, with 18 new cases recorded on Thursday compared to a record of 149 on July 30.
In response, the government announced that more of its services would resume on Monday, while encouraging people to access them through the post, drop boxes, or online as much as possible.
Measures to reduce social contact and other infection controls will be in force, a spokesperson said in a statement. These would include a roster system to reduce the number of staff working in an office at any one time, or introducing flexible working hours so employees can avoid public transport at peak hours.
“We appeal to the understanding of members of the public as the waiting time for public services may be lengthened, or a longer time may be needed for the processing of applications.”
Departments whose services will resume next Monday include the Housing Authority, the Labour Department, the Buildings Department, and the Trade and Industry Department. Opening hours will be shorter than normal.
Some government occupational health clinics will also reopen services.
The government says its first priority is still the fight against the epidemic. “The current epidemic situation remains severe… the Government’s ultimate goal is to resume full public services when conditions permit.”
Hong Kong has closed bars and other leisure facilities, restricted restaurants to daytime operations and banned gatherings of more than two people to combat the latest wave of the virus. These measures will remain in force until at least next Tuesday. The city has recorded 4,605 cases and 75 deaths since the start of the outbreak.