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Hong Kong:

Hong Kong is set to relax its rules on public gatherings after the coronavirus pandemic showed signs of abating in the city, a media report said on Monday.

Groups of up to eight people are to be permitted, double the number previously allowed, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) newspaper report said.

The plan is expected to be put before the Executive Council, Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s de facto cabinet, on Tuesday for endorsement following its approval by the city’s public health advisers, according to the report.

Hong Kong has recorded no local COVID-19 cases for two weeks, with only sporadic infections involving people who have returned to the city from abroad.

As of Monday morning, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the city stood at 1,039, with four deaths.

The move is part of a wider relaxation of social-distancing rules, which the SCMP revealed on Sunday, with the number of people allowed to sit together at a restaurant raised from four to eight.

Rules governing the closure of cinemas, karaoke lounges, mahjong parlours, gyms, bars, pubs, public facilities and sports venues, are due to expire on Thursday.

Social-distancing measures have been in place in Hong Kong since March 28, when the government ordered certain businesses and venues to close as it battled the spread of the virus.

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