Coronavirus: Hong Kong bans all tourist arrivals

Hong Kong says it is stopping all tourist arrivals and transit passengers at its airport and is considering suspending the sale of alcohol in some venues, joining cities around the world in the battle to halt the coronavirus.

Announcing tough new travel restrictions on Monday (local time), Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the government was planning to curb the sale of alcohol at more than 8000 bars and restaurants, an extraordinary move in a city that never sleeps.

An emotional Lam said many people took off their masks in bars and "even have intimate acts when they are tipsy", increasing the risk of cross-infection.

"So, we are going to suggest, as it requires legislative work, around 8600 restaurants, bars and clubs with liquor licenses to temporarily suspend the sale of alcohol by amending the law," Lam, who was wearing a face mask, told a news conference.

"We are investigating any further measures we can do rather than a complete closure of restaurants as we know many Hong Kong residents do not cook at home and often dine out."

Alcohol will be available in supermarkets and convenience stores across the city.

The city government announced 39 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, 30 of which had a recent travel history, bringing its total to 357. Four people have died of the disease in Hong Kong.

The measures come two days after the government warned a spike in the number of people returning to the region infected with coronavirus could lead to a large community outbreak.

The ban on tourist arrivals would last for 14 days from Wednesday, with visitors from mainland China, Macau and Taiwan who had travelled elsewhere recently, also subject to the restriction.

Reuters

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