Resuming dine-in service in the evening will be a priority when the government relaxes anti-epidemic regulations on February 4 the earliest, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said.
The relaxation will be based on the “vaccine
bubble” concept, meaning one's vaccination status will be the most important factor of consideration for entry into regulated premises, said Chan in a TV program on Sunday.
Office of the Government Chief Information Officer will launch a mobile application for businesses to check the vaccination records of visitors, Chan said. It is still undecided what information businesses can access on the app, such as whether it will show the faces of the vaccinated.
Chan said tightened regulations have to stay for another 14 days till February 3 because there are hidden transmission chains in communities and the outbreak is not under full control.
Authorities will look at six benchmarks when deciding whether it is the right time to relax the grip, she said. They include how many patients a Covid
-19 case infects, the total number of confirmed cases reported per day, the amount of cases with untraceable sources and how well health officers can track down close contacts of infected patients.
The monitoring of Covid
-19 in sewage water and whether there is vertical transmission at buildings are the other factors authorities will take into consideration. Vertical transmission means the coronavirus
spreads from one flat to another on a different floor. The flats usually face the same direction.