Coronavirus: Local Cases in Hong Kong Surge

  • From Wednesday, passengers in "risk areas" would be required to issue negative virus test certificates before boarding flights to Hong Kong
  • Public transport passengers are required to wear masks.
  • Hong Kong was considered to be performing well in the early stages of the epidemic, but the number of new cases has continued to rise in the past six days.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Monday that the Executive Council had met in advance to pass emergency legislation to fight the new coronavirus pandemic. There has been a clear local outbreak of COVID-19 in Hong Kong, leading the government to tighten its epidemic prevention and control measures.

The coronavirus was first confirmed to have spread to Hong Kong on 23 January 2020. As of 13 July 2020, Hong Kong had 1,522 confirmed cases, 1,217 recovered cases (including 1 probable case) and 8 death cases.

From Wednesday, passengers in “risk areas” would be required to issue negative virus test certificates before boarding flights to Hong Kong. For the first time, public transport passengers are required to wear masks. In addition, designated entertainment venues will be closed for seven days, and restaurants are prohibited from dine-in (domestic use) every evening to early morning.

The “restriction order” has been tightened again, and the gathering of groups of more than four people is considered illegal, again. In addition, the Hong Kong government will enable two Chinese companies to reinforce virus detection.

Hong Kong was considered to be performing well in the early stages of the epidemic, but the number of new cases has continued to rise in the past six days. On Monday, 52 new cases were added to a total of 1,522 cases.

Of these, 41 cases were local infections, and 20 cases were of unknown origin. Shortly before the new measures were announced, a 95-year-old woman died without treatment and became the eighth case of death in Hong Kong.

Carrie Lam is a Hong Kong politician serving as the 4th and current Chief Executive of Hong Kong since 2017. She served as the Chief Secretary for Administration, the most senior principal official, from 2012 to 2017, and as Secretary for Development from 2007 to 2012.

Anti-epidemic officials warned that the epidemic situation is precarious. The medical community has urged the Hong Kong government to tighten the anti-epidemic measures to the scale in March as soon as possible, and requested that the scale of virus detection be expanded as soon as possible.

The Hong Kong Education Bureau took the lead in announcing that elementary and junior high schools have early summer vacations. At the last minute, the Hong Kong Trade Development Council halted the annual important event in the cultural sector, scheduled to be unveiled on Wednesday, the Hong Kong Book Fair.

Lam said that the results of the epidemic prevention in the past six months have not been easy to come by. “I don’t want my previous achievements to be exhausted,” she said. However, the World Health Organization has warned that the virus will exist for a long time, and there are cases of outbreaks in foreign countries.

Dr. Wenhui Mao, a postdoctoral researcher at the Duke University Institute of Global Health, told reporters that Hong Kong has accumulated some experience in the prevention and control of infectious diseases in the early stage. The general quality of the citizens is generally high, and the medical resources are adequate, but the high population density is a risk factor.

Lam said that the emergency legislation for the new wave of anti-epidemic measures will take effect from 03:00 Hong Kong time (Tuesday 16:00 GMT).

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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