Published: 11:16, February 18, 2021 | Updated: 01:23, June 5, 2023
New rules kick in as HK eases some curbs, logs 8 new cases
By Wang Zhan

People wearing face masks watch a film with social distancing norms maintained at a cinema hall in North Point on Feb 18, 2021 in Hong Kong. (EDMOND TANG/ CHINA DAILY)

HONG KONG - Scanning the QR code of the HK government’s "LeaveHomeSafe" COVID-19 risk mapping app or recording personal details for eating out became mandatory, starting Thursday, as the Asian financial hub starting easing virus curbs. 

Hong Kong reported eight new coronavirus infections on Thursday, all locally transmitted, bringing the city’s overall tally to 10,820. Three of the new cases were untraceable, according to a statement issued by the Centre for Health Protection.

According to a government press release issued late Wednesday, the personal data of restaurant patrons will be retained for 31 days. Government officials, while trying to allay privacy concerns, had said earlier that the data would be essentially used for contact tracing. 

Karaoke lounges, party rooms, mahjong parlors, as well as pubs and bars will remain closed

Dozens of restaurants across the city, however, announced to suspend dine-in facilities over privacy concerns with respect to customer data.

For game centers, theme parks, fitness centers, cinemas and other entertainment venues, beauty and massage parlors and sports premises, patrons are encouraged to scan the "LeaveHomeSafe" app. The premises are required to have strict infection control measures in place.

READ MORE: HK sees 16 new virus cases, 10 test preliminarily positive

Hong Kong’s social distancing measures, which took effect in early December last year to contain the fourth wave of COVID-19 infections included a ban on in-house dining after 6 pm and the closure of some entertainment venues.

Beginning Thursday, local restaurants are allowed to provide dine-in service until 10 pm with four people now allowed to sit together at one table. 

Karaoke lounges, party rooms, mahjong parlors, as well as pubs and bars will remain closed. The maximum number of people at public gatherings still remain capped at two and is expected to be raised to four Tuesday.

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