After being forced to eat on the streets, Hong Kong banned restaurant eating. Coronavirus outbreak

Hong Kong’s government has imposed a one-day ban on restaurants serving dine-in customers launched to control the spread of coronovirus following widespread public anger.

All restaurants in the city of 7.5 million were ordered to serve only takeaways from Wednesday to form a part of ramp-up social-distancing measures to tackle the latest wave of virus cases.

Social media was quickly scorched by pictures of mostly blue-collar workers eating on sidewalks and parks – and even to avoid a torrential rain inside a public toilet.

Restaurant groups along with pro-Beijing parties also rejected the measures, prompting epidemiologists to slow the infection.

On Thursday, city officials published new guidelines saying restaurants could operate dine-in facilities – but only during the day, at half-capacity, and with no more than two people at a table. In the evening they stick to serving takeaway meals only.

The government said that the suspension of food was brought into “inconvenience and difficulties”.

Hong Kong was a poster child for dealing with the virus, with a local broadcast, but expired by early summer. But the virus has returned in recent weeks, brought in by tens of thousands of people who were free from the mandatory quarantine imposed upon their arrival.

These included international ship and airline crew, as well as businessmen and senior officers traveling to mainland China.

More than 1,500 new infections have been detected since early July – a total of half since the virus first arrived in the city in late January.

New daily infections have been above 100 for the last eight days, and the death toll has risen from seven to 24 in this month.

Under coronovirus measures, all Hong Kong must wear face masks outward and no more than two people can gather in public.

Most businesses, including bars and gyms, have been closed for July, while firms have been urged to let employees work from home.

Hong Kong has the smallest apartments in the world – and the most expensive. Some residents barely find kitchens to cook, making them dependent on cheap eateries.

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