The Hong Kong government says IT is considering easing the cap on public gatherings to 12 residents from the current four and will allow live performances to resume in restaurants, bars, pubs and other entertainment premises from October 20.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, Undersecretary for Health said officials would follow several principles in further opening up the city, including limiting the effects of a possible rebound in cases and the burden on the public healthcare system, while prioritising policies that benefited the economy.
The 12-people cap on Hong Kong public gatherings will also apply to party rooms and karaoke lounges. What’s more, residents can also eat and drink in outdoor areas and theme parks. Those caught gathering in groups of more than the permitted number must pay a fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for six months. The only exemptions to the rule are when taking pictures with your family and friends during events as long as everyone wears masks.
These developments are a huge relief to residents and travellers, but the government has no plans to minimise the Covid-19 testing requirements for arrivals. A three day medical surveillance period would be mandatory for all inbound travellers. And while business leaders and political pundits expect some groundbreaking developments, further relaxation on the travel curbs is unlikely. Travellers will continue to undergo RT-PCR tests, given the emergence of new variants.