Hong Kong bars and nightclubs have been ordered closed again after a surge in Covid-19 infections linked largely to a cluster in dance clubs.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said Tuesday that all bars, clubs, nightclubs, bathhouses and party rooms must close on Thursday midnight for at least seven days.

sophia chan
Sophia Chan. Photo: RTHK screenshot.

The city reported 80 new cases on Tuesday, 59 of which were linked to earlier local cases, 10 of which were untraceable and 11 of which were imported. Some 55 of the 59 linked cases were connected to an outbreak at dance clubs, which have now accounted for a total of 187 cases.

Restaurants can stay open, but with a maximum four people to a table and 50 per cent of their maximum capacity open for business.

A variety of entertainment and sports premises must register by Thursday next week for a QR code that pairs with the government’s “Leave Home Safe” app. It allows users to log locations they have visited. In case of confirmed cases at these venues, users will receive a notification.

Over 10,000 venues were already equipped with the QR code designated for the mobile app, Chan said, including government sports centres and swimming pools.

Wedding and other banquets should serve no more than four guests per table and a total of 10 tables will be the upper limit for each gathering. Masks should be worn.

Covid-19 coronavirus virus mask MTR
Photo: GovHK.

Chan said that incoming travellers to Hong Kong, who must be quarantined for two weeks in a hotel, should not leave their rooms or receive visitors. Rooms for people in quarantine and those serving regular customers must be separated.

Hotels will also set a limit for number of guests in hotel rooms, Chan said, following earlier transmissions at “staycations.”

High risk groups

The government has ordered compulsory testing for people who visited 21 premises. Fifty among 2,800 people who took the test were deemed preliminary positive.

High-risk groups including elderly home staffers, taxi drivers and patients displaying Covid-19 symptoms who visited private clinics will also be ordered to take tests.

Since the pandemic broke out in January the city has recorded 5,782 cases and 108 deaths.

Coronavirus virus covid-19 mask
Photo: GovHK.

In addition to the 47 general out-patient clinics that are providing test kits, the government plans to include post offices and MTR stations as distributors.

The minister urged citizens to minimise high-risk gatherings, reduce outings and dining out, and work from home if possible.

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Rachel Wong previously worked as a documentary producer and academic researcher. She has a BA in Comparative Literature and European Studies from the University of Hong Kong. She has contributed to A City Made by People and The Funambulist, and has an interest in cultural journalism and gender issues.