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Hong Kong makes masks compulsory as Covid cases rise

July 27, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

People wearing face masks to protect against the new coronavirus run at a park in Hong Kong, Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Hong Kong is facing a "critical stage" in its fight against COVID-19, and the government is extending anti-virus measures, Health Secretary Sophia Chan said Wednesday. Hong Kong has made it mandatory to wear masks on public transport, in indoor areas and passenger terminals. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

People in Hong Kong will be required to wear masks outdoors and limit gatherings to no more than two people as the city imposes its strictest coronavirus restrictions yet in an attempt to bring its "third wave" under control.

Hong Kong (CNN)Hong Kong will make wearing masks in public compulsory and limit gatherings to no more than two people as officials in the city grapple with a rising surge in coronavirus infections.

On Monday, Hong Kong's Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung announced that face masks would be mandatory in both indoor and outdoor public places from Wednesday, with offenders facing fines of up to 5,000 Hong Kong dollars ($645), although he didn't specify how the new measure would be enforced.

However, on Monday, Hong Kong authorities reported more than 100 new cases for the sixth straight day, bringing the city's total to more than 2,700.

The new restrictions are the tightest rules yet introduced in Hong Kong, which had previously limited public gatherings to four people.

Sophia Chan, Hong Kong's health secretary, said that authorities were aiming to expand testing.

Though a majority of Hong Kong residents have willingly worn masks in public since the outbreak began earlier this year, face coverings remain a highly contentious and politicized issue in other parts of the world.

Hong Kong's outbreak

Despite Hong Kong's proximity to mainland China -- where the first cases of coronavirus were reported -- the city has managed to keep its case count relatively low.

On Sunday, Hong Kong's Department of Health imposed new measures requiring crew members on goods vessels entering Hong Kong to remain on board the vessel during ship's stay in Hong Kong waters.

Flight crews are also required to present a negative coronavirus test result 48 hours before boarding a flight to Hong Kong.

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