Hong Kong’s social distancing measures will be extended for another two weeks and are unlikely to be lifted before Chinese New Year, authorities said.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said Monday that while daily cases are falling, the decline is “still slow,” and appealed to the public for their patience and understanding.

In a press conference Tuesday, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said more cases —over 2,530—were reported in December than any other month.

“It’s still a long road towards full resumption of normal activities,” Lam said.

High-risk establishments including gyms, bars and beauty salons will remain closed. Restaurants will continue to end dine-in services at 6pm, and public group gatherings capped at two.

Authorities said it cannot rule out further tightening of measures should there be a sharp rebound in cases.

Read more: 2 out of 5 Hong Kong youth say no to COVID-19 vaccine: Survey

Hong Kong recorded another 53 infections on Monday, of which 43 are local cases. Six of the local infections have no known sources of transmission.

A new outbreak at Princess Margaret Hospital has left at least four people infected, believed to have been triggered by a cancer patient who took off her face mask to eat.

The suspension of face-to-face classes will also continue until the end of the Chinese New Year holiday in February, although schools can implement flexible measures allowing students to come back in small groups when needed.

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