Sources say the Hong Kong Executive Council has approved the implementation of tougher anti-epidemic measures like a complete ban on dining-in at restaurants, and make masks mandatory even at outdoor venues.
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung is to meet the media at 3 pm and it is understood that an official announcement of the measures will be made then.
An infectious diseases expert, Dr Leung Chi-chiu, said while a total ban on dining-in will help contain the spread of the virus, the government must adopt a series of other measures to make sure that people’s needs are still taken care of.
For example, Leung said authorities need to encourage more private businesses to implement work-from-home arrangements to lower the demand for takeaway services at business districts.
He added that restaurants should be encouraged to provide takeaway meals to avoid overcrowding.
“If these restaurants [close completely], where can we supply lunch for the large number of people who are still required to go to work? This has to be attended to before we enforce all these measures.”
“Otherwise there may be chaos, and with the increased filling and mixing of people in the streets, we may inadvertently increase the risk of transmission”, he said.
Leung also welcomed the reported move to extend the mask requirement to all public areas, saying every single person in the community needs to play a role to stem the spread of the virus.