Hong Kong reports zero new coronavirus cases for first time since early March

A woman runs past a banner of health advice at Tsim Sha Tsuis tourist attraction, following the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Hong Kong, China April 2, 2020 – REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG: Hong Kong recorded zero new coronavirus cases on Monday for the first time since early March, health authorities said, though they urged residents to maintain strict hygiene and social distancing practices and avoid unnecessary travel.

The Chinese-ruled city, which has avoided the exponential increases seen in other parts of the world, has confirmed 1,025 total cases and four deaths since the outbreak began in January. The previous day with no recorded cases was March 5.

While schools remain closed, many people are working from home and shopping malls and restaurants are less busy, Hong Kong has stopped short of a full lockdown like those imposed in other cities such as London and New York.

Almost all Hong Kongers wear masks, office buildings, commercial centres and public institutions run temperature checks, and free sanitizer dispensers are widely available.

Hong Kong banned public gatherings of more than four people for 14 days from March 29 and later extended that restriction until April 23.

Game centres, gyms, cinemas and other places of amusement and public entertainment are also closed and foreign arrivals at the airport are suspended indefinitely.