By Gang Wen
This is the city's biggest daily jump in infections since Hong Kong ended a 21-day streak of no locally-transmitted cases on Sunday and also the second consecutive day of a surge in local infections.
The new cases, involving patients aged between 3-month-old and 94-year-old, brought the total number of infections recorded in Hong Kong to 1,365. Among these, 23 cases are linked to an elderly care home in Tsz Wan Shan – where an outbreak cluster was found.
During a press briefing, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said many locally-transmitted cases are currently related to “mask-off activities” such as having meals at restaurants. Therefore, the government has decided to strengthen social distancing measures to curb such activities, she said.
Chan announced that in local restaurants, bans on groups of more than eight per table will be re-enacted, while the total number of customers must not exceed 60 percent of total seating capacity.
For bars and nightclubs, no more than four people per table will be allowed, and the occupancy rate will be capped at 60 percent.
Meanwhile, the maximum number of people allowed per room in gyms, karaoke lounges and party rooms will be reduced from 16 to eight.
All of the new rules will come into effect on Saturday and be valid for 14 days.
The city had previously reported clusters of coronavirus cases linked to a congee restaurant in Ping Shek Estate, a Hong Kong-style cafe in Jordan, as well as the elderly care home in Tsz Wan Shan.
Chan said the government will increase tests for the coronavirus among eatery staff, elderly caregivers and public transport drivers.