Govt urged to extend social distancing rules

A specialist in respiratory medicine said on Friday that Hong Kong’s current social distancing rules should be extended.

Dr Leung Chi-chiu said people should continue to stay home as much as possible and avoid visiting high-risk places to prevent a super-spreading event.

“We did not find a rapid increase in cases, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that there’s no silent transmission within our community. One major hurdle in Hong Kong is we have not been able to find these silent transmissions very effectively,” he said.

“We need to ask our citizens to stay at home as much as possible so we can decrease cross-family transmission. That will allow us time to find out the cases within our community by screening those who either have risk factors or those who have minor symptoms.”

Bars and entertainment venues were recently ordered to shut and a ban on dine-in services at restaurants in the evening will be in place until January 20.

As well as extending these measures, Leung said the government should improve its testing capacity and contact tracing in a bid to contain the situation quickly.

“If we can see a rapid decrease in the number of cases in the coming one to two weeks, if we can find all these cases reasonably early and if we can trace all the close contacts within a very short time, there is hope that we can terminate the transmission of the Omicron before the Chinese New Year,” he said.