Banquet-goers will need to present a negative rapid antigen test result before entry as health authorities further tightened testing arrangements after reporting 7,835 Covid infections on Friday.
The new set of Covid
measures was announced by Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau in today's briefing and will take effect starting this coming Sunday (Aug 28).
Like bar customers, citizens attending a banquet will only be granted entry after presenting a valid negative RAT test result obtained within 24 hours or a negative PCR test result within 48 hours.
The RAT test requirement every three days for staffers of restaurants and catering businesses will also be expanded to workers of other premises restricted by a health regulation, including entertainment centers, gyms, department stores and beauty parlors.
Those who test positive for Covid
will be sent to isolation facilities with their families if any of them are at high risk and their living conditions don’t provide adequate space. Meanwhile, patients aged 70 and older who aren’t vaccinated or have received one jab only will be sent to specialized venues that can cater to their needs, Lo said.
Lo added the Security Bureau and relevant departments will enforce the laws strictly to inspect if citizens with a red health code have left the quarantine premises, or if those possessing a red or amber health code enter places they are barred from.
The rise in cases means that further measures to reopen aren’t a realistic option at this point, Lo said. Other social distancing measures that exact a higher cost remain on the government’s list should infections increase to worrisome levels, though hopefully they won’t be needed, he said.
“We will consider any solutions,” he said. “Some are very costly measures for society, we will try not to use them. But if the situation is not ideal, we cannot rule out using them,” he said.
Lo called on citizens to minimize cross-family gatherings and to do a RAT test if they develop symptoms. Even if citizens test negative, they shouldn't be participating in large-scale events.
Transmission rates have picked up steam in recent days, so that the number of infections may double every two weeks, Lo also said. The total number of new cases could hit or pass 10,000 daily, he added.
Among the new infections, 7,665 were locally transmitted, including 2,208 confirmed via PCR tests and 5,457 verified positive RAT test results. The remaining 170 infections were imported cases.
The Hospital Authority logged seven deaths as well, taking the fifth wave tally to 9,437. The seven deceased male patients were aged 79 to 95. Four were doubly-jabbed but had yet to receive the booster.
Public hospitals and treatment facilities are now housing 2,324 Covid
patients. Among them, 40 are in critical condition, 24 are in serious condition and 23 in hospital intensive care. As of Friday, 224 patients have recovered from Covid
and 198 have been discharged.