Hong Kong health authorities have extended most coronavirus social distancing measures for another 14 days, even though the city has seen no local infections for a month.

Among a number of minor relaxations, the government announced on Wednesday that the number of people allowed into cinemas, performance venues and museums has been extended to 85 per cent of capacity.

Covid-19 coronavirus virus mask
Photo: GovHK.

But other social distancing measures, including a four-person maximum for outdoor public gatherings, capacity limits and closing times for restaurants, remain unchanged. Authorities have cited the four-person rule when banning political protests.

The city saw its last local infection on June 7, after the government reclassified two cases originally thought to be local as genetically related to imported infections. One of the people involved worked at Hong Kong International Airport and another at a designated quarantine hotel.

Hong Kong has recorded 11,946 infections and and 212 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Covid-19 lockdown

Officials imposed a lockdown in a Tai Kok Tsui apartment block on Wednesday after a 52-year-old resident was diagnosed while overseas with the more infectious Delta mutant strain. He left the city on June 24 with a negative pre-departure test but tested positive on June 29 while in Australia, where he is now.

Tai Kok Tsui lockdown
The government imposed a coronavirus lockdown in Tai Kok Tsui on July 7, 2021. Photo: GovHK.

Around 1,200 people were tested but no cases were found. The lockdown was lifted at around 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Vaccination rate

According to government data disclosed at a Legislative Council meeting on Wednesday, around 55 per cent of staffers at the Department of Health and about 47 per cent of all workers for the Hospital Authority have received one dose of vaccine.

Legislator Pierre Chan also asked about the vaccination rate in the disciplined services, but the government said it did not keep records.

Vaccination take-up in the city of 7.5 million has been relatively sluggish despite an efficient free programme offering two types of vaccine – the Chinese-made Sinovac and the German-developed BioNTech.

As of Wednesday 2,473,900 people had received at least one dose and 1,669,500 of them had been fully vaccinated. Around 630,000 more doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine have arrived in Hong Kong.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.