Hong Kong reopens beaches, Beijing quarantine rules on foreign travel eased




Hong Kong on Thursday reopened beaches and pools in a relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, while China’s capital Beijing began easing quarantine rules for arrivals from overseas.


Hong Kong had closed water sports venues amid an outbreak of the highly transmissible omicron variant but has been tailing off restrictions as new case numbers fall. Deaths from COVID-19 have fallen from a high of almost 300 per day in March to zero in recent days.





Restaurants are also allowed to seat up to eight customers to a table and masks will not be required during outdoor exercise.


A further round of easing is scheduled to begin May 19, when bars and clubs will be allowed to reopen and restaurants in the southern Chinese city will be permitted to serve customers until midnight.


China has maintained its hardline zero-COVID approach but has imposed less onerous restrictions on the capital than in other cities such as Shanghai, where millions were placed under strict lockdown.


Beijing will now require arrivals from overseas to quarantine at a hotel for 10 days, followed by another week of home isolation.


Previous rules required 21 days of isolation, at least 14 of them at a hotel, followed by seven days of regular health reporting.


With only a handful of daily international flights into Beijing, the rule change is expected to have little practical effect. Symbolically, however, it appears to show a willingness to compromise with demands for a less intrusive and economically damaging policy.


Still, the capital is taking no chances and on Wednesday closed 60 subway stations, more than 10% of its vast system, to prevent the possibility of the virus spreading.


Restaurants and bars are limited to takeout, gyms are closed and classes are suspended for at least another week. Major tourist sites in the city, including the Forbidden City and the Beijing Zoo, have closed their indoor exhibition halls and are operating at only partial capacity.


Districts have been sorted according to the perceived level of COVID-19 risk in each, and people living in districts in the highest categories are barred from leaving the city. A few communities where cases were discovered have been isolated.


All residents are required to undergo three virus tests throughout the week as authorities seek to detect and isolate cases without imposing the sort of sweeping lockdowns seen in Shanghai and elsewhere. A negative test result obtained within the previous 48 hours is required to enter most public spaces.


Beijing on Thursday reported just 50 new cases, eight of them asymptomatic.


Shanghai also saw a drop to 4,651 new cases, all but 261 asymptomatic, with an additional 13 deaths. China’s biggest city recorded a daily peak of 27,605 new cases on April 13.


Questions have arisen about the surprisingly low death toll amid an outbreak of more than 400,000 cases in the city that is home to China’s main stock market and biggest port.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor





Source link