Hong Kong announces some services set to reopen May 4

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Some public services in Hong Kong are set to resume next Monday, when thousands of the city's civil servants head back to work, Hong Kong Leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said Tuesday.

Government employees will return to work on May 4. Two days later, the city will reopen most of its museums and libraries that have been on lockdown since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

Lam said Tuesday that authorities haven't decided yet whether to extend social distancing measures beyond May 7, when they are set to expire, but did note any relaxation of the current rules would have to be made gradually.

"I want to stress there are fluctuations in the number of cases," Lam said. "So, we could not completely repeal these restrictions (in one go), and could only do so gradually."

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Lam also warned that the lockdowns and restrictions could be reimposed at any moment "until a vaccine is found and most people are immune. Only then can we let down our guard."

Hong Kong's Museum of History, a tourist hotspot and favorite among locals, announced on its website it would reopen starting May 6 but warned that all visitors will be required to have their temperatures checked at the entrance and those showing signs of fever will not be granted access. Masks and hand sanitizers will also be provided.

Similarly, Hong Kong Central Library will reopen but only offer limited services.

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Hong Kong, like much of the world, has been on lockdown since the novel coronavirus first surfaced in late 2019. Since then, schools have been closed, businesses shuttered and the financial markets have taken a hit.

So far, more than 3 million people have been infected by the novel coronavirus globally. There have been 212,056 deaths.