People walk in the Hennessy Road in south China's Hong Kong, July 16, 2020. (Xinhua/Wu Xiaochu)

Hong Kong extends anti-epidemic measures for 14 more days

The current anti-epidemic measures will be extended for 14 more days until Feb. 3, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government announced on Friday.

A series of updates regarding anti-epidemic measures were announced by HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam during a press conference.

The existing anti-epidemic measures effective from Jan. 7 include an evening dine-in ban at restaurants and the closure of venues such as cinemas, gyms and beauty parlors.

Passenger flights from Australia, Britain, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United States will continue to be suspended until Feb. 4, Lam said.

Lam also announced that applications for the fifth round of anti-epidemic fund will be open by next week.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong reported nine new cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours on Friday, taking the total tally of confirmed cases to 13,025, data from the Center for Health Protection (CHP) showed.

The newly reported cases consist of six imported cases, two cases epidemiologically linked with imported cases and one local case.

All of the cases involved mutant strains. The patients comprise four males and five females, aged 21 to 48.

Altogether 385 COVID-19 cases have been reported in the past 14 days, according to the CHP.

Meanwhile, the whole genome sequencing analysis of 69 cases announced earlier showed they all carried the Omicron variant of COVID-19, bringing the total number of Omicron infections to 396 in Hong Kong.

Since the launch of a mass inoculation program in February 2021, about 5.11 million people, or 75.8 percent of the eligible population, have taken at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, while about 4.72 million, or 70 percent of the eligible population, have taken two doses.

Meanwhile, 626,535 people in Hong Kong have taken a booster shot as of Friday.