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Government further tightens social distancing measures
     In view of the development of COVID-19 in Hong Kong, the Government announced today (November 21) that it has gazetted directions and specifications under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) to further tighten social distancing measures. The above directions will take effect at 0.00am on November 22.

     A spokesman for the Food and Health Bureau said, "The number of confirmed local cases with unknown sources of infection has been on a rising trend recently, indicating the existence of silent transmission chains in the community. The Government announced a series of measures to tighten social distancing on November 14, targeting at restrictions on mask-off gathering activities. In view of the latest public health risk assessment, in particular the higher risks brought about by activities conducted without wearing masks as well as various social activities as shown in recent cases, we are of the view that it is now necessary to further tighten social distancing measures implemented under Cap. 599F."

     "We urge the public to stay at home as much as possible, go out less often unless necessary, and avoid dining out and unnecessary social activities (including private gatherings, in particular mask-off activities or group gatherings in indoor premises).  At this key moment when the epidemic situation is worsening, the public should fight the epidemic together without letting down one's guard and take every possible step to prevent the virus from continuing to spread in the community. Maintaining good personal and environmental hygiene at all times is key to prevention of infection and the spread of the virus in the community."

     The details of the tightening measures are as follows:

(1) Live performance and dancing must not be allowed in any catering premises (including bars or pubs) as well as clubs or nightclubs.

(2) Premises (commonly known as party rooms) that are maintained or intended to be maintained for hire for holding social gatherings must be closed.

     The Government has gazetted the directions and specifications under Cap. 599F to implement the above measures (details at Annex 1). The above measures will take effect from November 22 for a period of five days till November 26, 2020. Persons responsible for carrying on catering businesses and managers of scheduled premises that contravene the statutory requirements under Cap. 599F would have committed a criminal offence. Offenders are subject to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.

     The spokesman added that apart from the above additional social distancing measures, other measures, including requirements on group gatherings and mask wearing as announced on November 14 are still in effect until November 26.

     "We will continue to closely monitor the development of the epidemic situation and review the various measures in place from time to time with a view to making suitable adjustments taking into account all relevant factors," said the spokesman.
Ends/Saturday, November 21, 2020
Issued at HKT 6:00
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