Hong Kong ramps up COVID-19 measures, public gatherings capped at two people
Religious places and hair salons will also be closed temporarily.
Hong Kong is imposing its strictest COVID-19 measures yet, after case numbers hit an all-time high of 1,161 cases on Feb 9.
Two people have also died from the disease, for the first time in about six months.
From Feb 10, private gatherings will be limited to two households, and public gatherings are capped at two people, down from four previously.
In addition, a new vaccine pass scheme will be introduced on Feb 24. Residents are required to display the pass in order to dine out or enter public venues like shopping malls, supermarkets and wet markets.
Religious places and hair salons will be closed temporarily, until the vaccine pass scheme is implemented.
The tightened measures have led to long queues at hair salons and crowds at markets, as residents rush to stock up on groceries and get one last haircut. As such, prices for groceries have skyrocketed, with some market stalls selling vegetables at double the usual price.
Hong Kong’s enhanced measures are much stricter in comparison to many other countries, which have been easing restrictions gradually in preparation for living with COVID-19 in an endemic state.
However, Hong Kong currently has no plans to progress like other countries, as more than 50 per cent of its elderly residents have not been vaccinated yet.
Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam said in a press conference on Feb 8 that the country would continue with a “dynamic zero” COVID-19 strategy aiming to stamp out the virus completely, following in mainland China’s footsteps.
“We need your support, we need your cooperation. You only need to stay at home,” said Ms Lam.
As of Feb 9, Hong Kong had a total of 17,808 COVID-19 cases and 215 deaths.