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Asia Minute: Hong Kong closes gyms, bars, museums and more for two weeks

Virus Outbreak Hong Kong 010722
Vincent Yu/AP
Residents line up against Hong Kong's business district to get tested for the coronavirus at a temporary testing center for COVID-19 in Hong Kong Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Hong Kong is one of the many places battling rising COVID cases. But unlike most of the world, the city is still trying to eliminate the virus — rather than control it. And that has led to a series of new restrictions.

You won’t be able to go to Hong Kong for a while — not if you’re traveling from the United States — or Canada, the United Kingdom, the Philippines or several other countries.

Hong Kong’s government has banned incoming flights from eight countries for the next two weeks.

Most nonresidents have been unable to enter the city for some time — and most residents returning from overseas face quarantines of three weeks.

But for locals, airport activity is the least of the new restrictions.

Gyms, bars, beauty salons?

Totally closed for the next couple of weeks.

So are museums, theme parks, movie theaters — a total of 15 specific types of venues.


They can stay open — but only until 6 p.m.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam is encouraging private companies to “allow their employees wherever possible to work from home.”

But she stopped short of telling civil servants to do the same — in order to minimize the disruption of government services.

Schools will still be open.

The co-chair of the Hong Kong Medical Association’s committee on communicable diseases said neither of those actions is a good idea if the goal is to shut down any possible community spread of the virus.

On Thursday, Hong Kong reported 33 new cases of coronavirus.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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