People arrive at a COVID-19 testing center in Hong Kong on March 2, 2022. (DALE DE LA REY / AFP)
Hong Kong will cancel requirements for rapid antigen tests and quota limits for entering bars, banquets, theme parks and cinemas, starting Thursday.
In the meantime, the authorities announced that eating and drinking in certain premises, including public entertainment areas, outdoor areas of activity, mahjong-tin kau premises and outdoor areas at sports venues will be allowed. The requirements for vaccination passes and masks remain in place.
Cold weather will increase the need for hospitalizations among the elderly
The further unwinding of COVID curbs came a week after the city announced it was canceling its amber health code requirement for inbound travelers and the need for residents to scan a QR code using the LeaveHomeSafe app when entering a venue.
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Announcing the details at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Under Secretary for Health Libby Lee Ha-yun said no more rapid tests are needed to enter bars and banquets and join local tours, and the caps on the maximum number of people allowed at banquets, theme parks and cinemas will be scrapped starting Thursday.
Previously, banquets were capped at 240 people, and bars and nightclubs were limited to allowing six people per table.
Lee said that the pandemic situation in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has levelled off and the authorities hope that the community can return to normal as soon as possible.
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However, as it is expected that there will be more social activities during the Christmas and New Year holidays, and the cold weather will increase the need for hospitalizations among the elderly, she urged caution in relaxing social-distancing rules.
On Tuesday, Macao SAR extended its requirement for nucleic acid tests for incoming travelers from 48 hours to 72 hours and cancelled its regulations on the so-called “risk zones” in the Chinese mainland.