Hong Kong, July 29 (IANS) In the wake of rising COVID-19 cases, Hong Kong is introducing some of its toughest measures to arrest the spread of the deadly contagion.
The new measures come amid local media reports that elections to Hong Kong's Parliament - the Legislative Council - could be postponed by a year.
From Wednesday, dining in restaurants is banned and only two people from different households can meet each others. Face masks must also be worn in all public places, the BBC reported.
Hong Kong, which had seen early success against COVID-19, is now regularly reporting over 100 new daily cases.
Restrictions have been progressively tightened again this month with bars, gyms and beauty parlours already closed.
Hong Kong confirmed another 106 coronavirus cases on Tuesday and reported its 23rd overall death. A record 145 cases were recorded on Monday.
"There is no place for complacency at the moment. We still have to observe the trend," said Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch at the Centre for Health Protection, the South China Morning Post reported.
"We have not seen an exponential growth (in infections) yet, but the figures are still worrying."
The latest person to die from the virus was a resident of a care home where at least 45 infections have been recorded.
Local scientists have voiced fears that a strain of the virus circulating in Hong Kong could cause greater damage. It is said to have not mutated for at least 22 days, meaning it could have adapted well to humans, becoming easier to transmit.
News outlets HK01, Hong Kong Economic Times and TVB said the government had made the decision, which is yet to be formally announced, because of coronavirus concerns.