BREAKING! Hong Kong COVID-19 News: SARS-CoV-2 Infections Spreading Out Of Control Says Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam
Hong Kong COVID-19 News
: SARS-CoV-2 infections are escalating and spreading out of control in Hong Kong with a record 108 new cases confirmed, the finance hub's leader said Sunday as she tightened social distancing measures to tackle the sudden surge in infections.
Hong Kong was one of the first places to be struck by the virus when it emerged from central China. However the city had impressive success in tackling the disease, all but ending local transmissions by late June.
But, in the last two weeks, infections have spiked once more and doctors fear the new outbreak is now spreading undetected in the densely packed territory of 7.5 million people.
Late Sunday chief executive Carrie Lam said more than 500 new infections had been confirmed in the last fortnight alone, nearly a third since the outbreak began. Just on Sunday alone 108 new infections were recorded by health authorities, a daily high for the finance hub, bringing the total to 1,886 cases.
Lam said, "I think the situation is really critical and there is no sign the situation is being brought under control."
She announced new social distancing measures last week, shuttering many businesses including bars, gyms and nightclubs, and ordering everyone to wear masks on public transport. Hawkers and restaurants were ordered to only offer takeout services in the evenings.
Yesterday, she announced even more regulations, including plans to make it compulsory to wear masks inside any public indoor venue and a new order for non-essential civil servants to work for home.
Hospitals wards are filling up and officials are also scrambling to build a further 2,000 isolation rooms on barren land near the city's Disneyland resort to monitor and treat those who test positive.
The financial hub of Hong Kong is already mired in recession when the pandemic hit thanks to the US-China trade war and months of political unrest last year and the partial lockdown is compounding the economic misery.
Lam speaking to the media yesterday has also called for landlords to look at lowering rents in the notoriously expensive city where inequality is rampant.
It was warned that further social distancing measures would be rolled out if the daily infection rate did not ease in coming days.
She said however she was keen to avoid ordering people to remain at home.
Lam added, "We can't just make a simple and extreme move to cut everything at once,"
Health officials say testing will be ramped up, targeting high-risk populations such as taxi drivers and restaurant workers after clusters were found within their ranks.
About half of the new infections have swept through elderly care homes, a major cause of concern given how deadly the coronavirus is to older people.
To date, 12 individuals have died after contracting the virus in Hong Kong, four in just the last fortnight.
The Chief executive Lam said officials would try to strike a balance between protecting health and keeping the economy partially afloat.
She added, "It's hard to tell what kind of measures we will need to roll out..many countries have ordered people to stay home. We have not adopted that in the last six months because we wanted to maintain a normal life for everyone."
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