COVID digest: Hong Kong limits public gatherings to 2 people
Hong Kong, Feb 08: Hong Kong on Tuesday announced stricter COVID-19 curbs by limiting public gatherings to two people. It also closed sites like churches and hair salons as the financial hub struggles to contain a recent outbreak of the virus.
Extending existing social distancing measures to February 24, Hong Kong's leader Carrie Lam said the best option was to adhere to the "dynamic zero" strategy being used by mainland China to clamp down on all coronavirus outbreaks as soon as possible.
"We should contain the spread of the virus as much and as fast as possible," she said. "We need your support, we need your cooperation. You only need to stay at home."
Existing social distancing measures include a ban on dining in restaurants after 6 p.m. as well as the closure of gyms and cinemas.
Lam also announced that the government will introduce a sixth round of subsidies totaling 26 billion Hong Kong dollars ($3.3 billion, €2.9 billion) for businesses and individuals affected by the pandemic.
Here are the latest major developments on coronavirus from around the world:
Beijing Olympics organizers on Tuesday said 32 athletes are in isolation facilities after testing positive for the coronavirus.
"We will allow as many people out of isolation as we can, but only as many as we can do safely,'' said Brian McCloskey, chairman of the expert medical panel for the Games. The average stay in isolation is seven days.
He said 50 athletes have already been discharged and most were well and did not require any medical treatment.
In a peer-reviewed article in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering, Chinese scientists said they have developed a new COVID test that matches the accuracy of a PCR lab test but gives results within four minutes.
"We implemented an electromechanical biosensor for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 into an integrated and portable prototype device, and show that it detected (virus RNA) in less than four minutes," the team from Fudan University in Shanghai said in the paper.
Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of New Zealand"s capital as the parliament reconvened after a summer break. Mostly unmasked, the demonstrators protested against vaccine and mask mandates linked to coronavirus curbs in the country.
Germany has recorded 169,571 new infections, taking the country"s COVID tally to 11,287,428, according to the latest data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. With 177 deaths reported, the total toll has risen to 118,943.