HONG KONG (Reuters) -Hong Kong will gradually resume public services from April 1, the government said on Friday, with the global financial hub posting its lowest number of daily infections in about a month.
Government departments will return to normal service by April 21, it said in a statement, part of a broader easing of strict coronavirus measures which have created widespread frustration for residents and businesses.
Leader Carrie Lam this week announced the lifting of measures including a ban on dining in restaurants after 6.p.m., and the reopening of most public venues and sports facilities.
Schools are also due to resume face to face classes by April 19.
Many people in the Chinese ruled territory have been working from home since February when a wave of the highly transmissible Omicron variant swept through the city.
The government’s announcement signals that many of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million residents will return to offices in line with civil servants guidelines.
Health authorities reported 10,405 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, down from 13,074 the previous day. The city hit a record high of over 58,000 infections on March 9.
Hong Kong has officially stuck to a “dynamic zero” coronavirus strategy, which aims to curb outbreaks as they occur with contact tracing, testing and isolation. The policy largely protected it from the virus until the beginning of this year.
However the latest wave came as large numbers of elderly remained unvaccinated, causing a spike in infections with Hong Kong registering the most deaths per million people globally in recent weeks.
Since the pandemic began in 2020, Hong Kong has recorded more than 1.1 million infections and more than 6,700 deaths – most of them in the past month.
(Reporting by Farah Master, Twinnie Siu, Jessie Pang and Anne Marie Roantree; editing by Philippa Fletcher)