Social distancing in Hong Kong
Recently, the covid-19 cases have hit the new high in the last three months in Hong Kong. With a surge in the number of cases, the government has updated the social distancing norms to avoid the spread of the disease. Over a hundred Covid-19 cases were reported in the city after the group gathering activities were organized and attended in the indoor premises.
Why is social distancing important?
Certain severe infection causing viruses spread very quickly (like Covid-19). With social distancing, the spread of these viruses can be avoided as it puts a gap between individuals. If a person is not well or sneezes, with social distancing, others cannot catch the infection. Social distancing means avoiding in-person contact and using online video calling and telephone communication.
Places where social distancing needs to be followed the most:
- Beauty parlours
- Live music venues
- Karaoke places
- Amusement game centres
- Swimming pools
A lot of people gather at these places for work, enjoyment and exercises and end up either contacting the disease or spreading the disease.
How to practice social distancing
- It is better to work from home than going to offices.
- Avoid visiting loved ones in person.
- Cancelling or avoiding conferences, gatherings, etc.
Practising social distancing in indoor and outdoor spaces is very important. It is better to maintain a distance of at least 6 feet from the others. Also, it is advisable to avoid public gatherings, events, parties or other functions. However, if you still want to attend these, the Hong Kong Government has tightened certain social distancing norms to avoid the spread Covid-19 on November 19, 2020.
Below are the dos and don’ts as per the new norms:
- The government has urged people to stay at home as much as possible and asked them to avoid going out if not necessary. The residents have also been asked to stop all mask-off activities and social activities, mainly the meal gatherings across family bubbles.
- If the social gathering norms are violated, the government is planning to increase the fine. At present, the fine for violations is HK$2,000. Details regarding the same will be announced later.
- All the restaurants have been asked to shut down at 10 pm and only takeaway will be available after 10 pm. The restaurants are to operate at only 50% capacity.
- More than two persons are not allowed to be seated together at one table in any restaurant. It is mandatory for people to only drink and eat at the table. When not drinking or eating, wearing a mask is compulsory.
- It is mandatory for people to wear masks when in a gym or indoor sports premises (except when having a shower or drinking).
- Only one-on-one classes are allowed. The spectator stands in sports premises will be closed.
- It is a must for people visiting beauty parlours and massage establishments to wear masks at all times (except when having facial treatments).
- Only two persons are allowed in the service area of these places, i.e. only one-on-one services have been permitted.
- Even though one can conduct marriage ceremonies in Hong Kong, only 20 people can attend them and all the social distancing norms are required to be followed.
- It is mandatory for the restaurants or banquets to display the ‘LeaveHomeSafe’ venue at the entrance and only four persons are allowed in a guest room or a rental unit in hotels/guesthouses.
Resources: Link for more information and to download LeaveHomeSafe app https://www.leavehomesafe.gov.hk/en/
- Venues like bars, party rooms and night clubs, amusement parks, beaches, museums, cinemas and theme parks, etc. will remain close in Hong Kong as practicing social distancing here is difficult.
- Live performance and dancing have been banned at all eateries.
- For using public transport like buses and trains, it is compulsory to maintain a safe distance from the people. It is also necessary to wear masks when in public.
- The government has decided to set up a hotline so that people can report violations of social distancing norms.
References: For more information about the same, visit the website https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202012/01/P2020120100068.htm
The first Covid-19 case was reported in Hong Kong on January 22 and even after being an international travel and business hub, the government was able to control the spread of the disease. However, after multiple cases were reported recently, there is a fear of a fourth way in the city. Hence, the stricter norms were announced by Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam. She mentioned that this wave of transmission is severe as many people who have tested positive, visited many places and were in contact with a lot of people.
It is better to stay at home and follow the social distancing measures for the safety of self and others. We must all avoid going to crowded places and gatherings. Just remember, how we act today will determine our future!