Hong Kong reported nine new coronavirus infections late Monday - the lowest daily number since mid-November when the city was hit by a fourth wave.

The drop in infections came on the last day of the four-day Lunar New Year long weekend and health authorities fear it could be attributed to fewer people getting tested during the holiday.

The cases included four locally transmitted infections and five imported cases from Indonesia, the Philippines, Poland and India.

"We are currently seeing a slow drop in the number of cases," said the head of Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection, Dr. Ronald Lam, who warned that "during the new year, many citizens do not seek medical consultation so this may affect the trend."

More than 67,000 Hong Kong residents took a COVID test over the first three days of the holiday with 12 confirmed cases reported on both Saturday and Sunday.

"Looking at past experience, after long vacations and gatherings we usually see some type of upsurge (in infections)," said Lam. "We need to observe that trend and be very, very cautious."

A reduction in social-distancing measures is still expected to come into effect Thursday barring a sudden increase in the city's daily caseload.

Gyms, nail salons and cinemas, which have been closed since late in the fall, will be allowed to reopen while restaurants and bars will be able to serve customers until 10 p.m.

However, business reopenings hinge on employees testing negative and this has led to a rise in demand for tests.

In response, 20 subway stations are now collecting deep-throat saliva samples and another six mobile testing clinics have been deployed alongside the current 19 permanent testing centers.

Hong Kong has reported 10,788 COVID-19 cases and 193 deaths since the virus first appeared in the city in early 2020.