BEIJING ( Associated Press) – Hong Kong reopened beaches and pools on Thursday, easing COVID-19 restrictions, while China’s capital Beijing began easing quarantine rules for arrivals from overseas.
Hong Kong closed water sports venues amid an outbreak of the highly transmissible Omicron variant, but restrictions have been lifted as the number of new cases declines. Deaths from COVID-19 have fallen from a high of around 300 per day in March to zero in recent days.
The restaurant is also allowed to seat up to eight customers at a table and will not require masks during outdoor exercise.
Another round of easing is set to begin on May 19, when bars and clubs will be allowed to reopen and restaurants in the southern Chinese city will be allowed to serve customers until midnight.
China has maintained its “zero-Covid” approach but imposed fewer restrictions on the capital than other cities such as Shanghai, where millions were placed under strict lockdown.
Beijing will now require arrivals from abroad to quarantine in a hotel for 10 days, followed by another week of home isolation.
Previous rules required 21 days of isolation, at least 14 of them in a hotel, followed by seven days of regular health reporting.
With only a small number of daily international flights into Beijing, the rule change is expected to have little practical effect. However, symbolically, it shows a willingness to compromise with the demands of a less intrusive and economically harmful policy.
Still, the capital is taking no chances and on Wednesday closed 60 metro stations, more than 10% of its sprawling system, to curb 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 destinations in the city, including the Forbidden City and Beijing Zoo, have closed their indoor exhibition halls and are operating only at partial capacity.
The districts have been ranked according to the perceived level of COVID-19 risk in each, and people living in the highest-rated districts have been barred from leaving the city. Some communities where the cases were discovered have been isolated.
All residents undergo three virus tests throughout the week as officials try to trace and isolate cases without enforcing a widespread lockdown. Seen in Shanghai and elsewhere. It is necessary to obtain a negative test result within the past 48 hours to enter most public places.
Beijing on Thursday reported just 50 new cases, of which eight were asymptomatic.
Shanghai saw a decline of 4,651 new cases, with an additional 13 deaths, but all but 261 are asymptomatic. On April 13, 27,605 new cases were reported daily in China’s largest city.
questions have arisen About a surprisingly low death rate amid an outbreak of more than 400,000 cases in China’s main stock market and largest port city.