Chief Exec Carrie Lam has announced in a press conference today a flight ban on eight countries effective 00.00am on January 8 to 00.00am on January 21, as well as the complete closure of 15 venue types including bars, clubs, LCSD venues, sports centres, beauty clinics, and cruise ships starting January 7. From Friday, restaurants will also return to offering only takeaway from 6pm to 5am, on top of all staff needing to have at least one vaccine dose by February 24.
The eight banned countries are Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the UK, and the US. Anyone who has been in these places in the last 3 weeks is not allowed to enter Hong Kong, including transit passengers. This leaves 22 inbound routes into Hong Kong.
The maximum number of diners per table will also be cut to six instead of 12 at Type D restaurants, four instead of six at Type C restaurants, and two instead of four at Type B restaurants. Visitation at hospitals and care homes will also be suspended.
The slew of restrictions comes after the detection of, so far, 114 cases of the less deadly, more transmissible Omicron variant. The first cluster of local Omicron infections arose on Monday, and the first untraceable local case was reported today.
Lam called the tightening of rules the most targeted COVID-19 measures since the beginning of the pandemic, in the hopes of preventing a fifth wave of community infections in Hong Kong. The in-city measures beginning on January 7 will be effective for two weeks, and will be reviewed on January 14, with Lam emphasizing that the hope is to loosen restrictions in time for Lunar New Year celebrations.
For more information, take a look at Twitter user @tripperhead’s thread on today’s press conference.
Chief Executive, Carrie Lam:— Aaron 🇭🇰 (@tripperhead) January 5, 2022
• Worried about silent transmission chains in the community
• Another dancing cluster, people went on a cruise
• Omicron cases, source unknown pic.twitter.com/GkIwFwQGR0
Header image credits: Wcpcey, CC BY 4.0