Health officials have urged Hongkongers to stay vigilant against the coronavirus even though the city reported just nine new infections on Monday, the first single-digit daily figure since November.
Centre for Health Protection (CHP) controller Dr Ronald Lam warned the figure may not accurately represent the current situation because of the Lunar New Year holidays.
“We are currently seeing a slow drop in figures in recent days… perhaps during the Lunar New Year, many of the citizens do not seek medical consultations. So this may affect the trend of the epidemic.”
He added that an increase in family gatherings over the holidays which ended on Monday may lead to a rise in infections. “We need… to be very, very cautious.”
Gyms, cinemas, theme parks, beauty parlours and some other premises are set to reopen on Thursday unless there is an uptick in infections. Restaurants will be allowed to run dine-in operations until 10 pm and seat up to four people per table.
At least 26 people identified as close contacts were sent to quarantine centres over the weekend after a hair stylist at public broadcaster RTHK tested positive for the virus.
Vaccine roll-out by March
The government’s city-wide voluntary vaccination scheme is expected to begin by early March “if everything goes smoothly,” Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip announced on Sunday.
Nip said Hong Kong would receive its first shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines by the end of this month. Each of the city’s 18 districts will have at least one community vaccination centre, with advanced booking arrangements to be announced later.
Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan announced in late January that the scheme would prioritise high-risk individuals, with the aim of vaccinating a “majority of the population” by the end of this year.