Hong Kong Imposes Its 1st COVID-19 Lockdown; 10,000 People Affected

Mumbai: Hong Kong on Saturday imposed its first COVID-19 lockdown, affecting over 10,000 people.

The lockdown will last for the next 48 hours and is imposed in residential buildings in the Yau Tsim Mong and Jordan areas.

Officials said that they will be testing everyone in the affected areas for the next two days.

Hong Kong has included a fresh wave of coronavirus since November. More than 4,300 cases have been reported in the last two months, which is about 40% of the city’s total.

Coronavirus cases in Hong Kong’s Yao Tsim Mong district – a working-class neighborhood with old buildings and subdivided flats – represented about half of the infections in the past week.

Sewage testing in the area raised more concentrated fractions of the virus, with concerns that poorly constructed pipeline systems and lack of ventilation in subdivided units could present a possible route for the spread of the virus.

Officials said in a statement on Saturday that the 16-building area in Yau Tsim Mong will be closed until all residents are tested. Residents will not be allowed to leave their homes until they have obtained the results of their tests to prevent infection.

“Subject to compulsory testing, individuals are required to remain in their premises until all such persons are identified in the area and the test results have been revealed,” the government said in a statement.

Hong Kong has spared a lockout in the city during the first pandemic, with leader Carrie Lam saying in July last year that officials would refrain from taking such “extreme measures” unless there is no other option.

The government said the restrictions were announced in Hong Kong at 4 am, expected to end within 48 hours.

It appealed to employers to use discretion and avoid docking salaries of employees affected by the restrictions and could not go to work.

The city has seen a total of 9,929 infections, with 168 deaths as of Friday.

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