No new coronavirus cases or deaths were reported in Hong Kong and Taiwan on Tuesday.
This marked the third straight day of no new cases in Hong Kong and the government has unveiled plans to ease restrictions over the coming days, the South China Morning Post reported.
Carrie Lam, the leader of the Chinese special administrative region, announced that public services will return to normal next Monday and civil servants will be back at work.
“The government has decided internally that we will resume public services next Monday. Public services are already slowly resuming, and will resume to normal operation next week,” she said.
Lam said museums, libraries, and outdoor public facilities such as sports grounds will also reopen next week.
Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said quarantine requirements for people coming from the mainland China will be eased, with exemptions for students and businesspeople.
She told a news conference the Hong Kong government was satisfied that the COVID-19 crisis on the mainland was “more or less under control.”
“Regarding the epidemic situation in China, it is more or less under control. Of course, they have some new cases every day — not a big number — but most are imported,” she said.
“In the context of [preparing] society for getting back to normal, students, especially cross border-students, are one category we recommended the Education Bureau needed to look into.”
Chan said there will also be exemptions for professionals and businesspeople whose “traveling is considered to be in the interests of Hong Kong’s economic development.”
Hong Kong has 1,037 confirmed COVID-19 cases and four deaths so far.
With no new case or fatality reported on Tuesday, the overall count in Taiwan remains at 429 and the death toll is still six.
The island nation, which China claims as a breakaway province, has been successful in restricting the spread of the coronavirus without a complete lockdown.
Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung shared the government’s experience with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar on Monday, the daily Taiwan Today reported.
In a 30-minute phone call, the two shared strategies for managing the COVID-19 outbreak and discussed ways to enhance cooperation.
They also spoke about Taiwan’s push for inclusion in the World Health Organization, with Chen thanking the US for its support.
According to the report, he said the government “hopes the US can lead like-minded countries in backing Taiwan’s attendance in the World Health Assembly as an observer and its full participation in the WHO’s activities, mechanisms and meetings.”
More than 3.06 million people in 185 countries and regions have been infected by the coronavirus since it emerged in China last December.
A significant proportion of COVID-19 patients — over 905,600 — have recovered, but the disease has claimed over 212,000 lives so far, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.
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