Hong Kong to ban dining-in after 6pm as Omicron spreads

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HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) – Hong Kong is imposing new virus control measures for the first time in almost a year as the highly transmissible Omicron variant seeps into the community and threatens to spur a winter wave.

The city will ban indoor dining after 6pm and close some venues, according to reports from local media outlets including the South China Morning Post and Oriental Daily News.

The new rules return to social distancing restrictions that were in place a year ago and eased after Chinese New Year in 2021.

The tightening comes as the Asian financial hub this week made a preliminary report on the first local coronavirus case that officials were unable to trace to its source.

The government has been trying to contain an Omicron cluster linked to a local restaurant, which triggered the first local transmissions in nearly seven months.

Hong Kong is one of the only places in the world that has not experienced a Delta outbreak.

The growing number of Omicron cases and a looming expansion of the vaccine mandate has enlivened the city’s stagnant immunisation roll-out.

While 66 per cent of the city’s population have received a first injection, just 22 per cent of the over-80 population have started the immunisation process.

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