Hong Kong mulls city-wide lockdown amid report COVID-19 spike
Hong Kong reported a report 34,466 new coronavirus infections Monday as deaths continued to climb, as authorities assess the probabilities of locking down town.
Hong Kong is grappling with a coronavirus surge pushed primarily by the Omicron variant. Day by day instances have greater than quadrupled from per week in the past, when town reported over 7,500 infections.
“As soon as each three days the case quantity will double,” mentioned Albert Au, principal medical and well being officer of town’s Centre for Well being Safety, throughout a every day virus briefing. “We expect that the quantity will proceed to climb.”
The town additionally reported 87 deaths Monday, together with 67 individuals who had been unvaccinated.
Well being authorities mentioned the federal government may implement measures that will contain “asking individuals to remain at residence,” and that it stays to be seen whether or not it will be achieved by way of laws or different means.
Hong Kong Well being Minister Sophia Chan mentioned throughout a radio program Monday that the federal government is “nonetheless discussing” the matter of a lockdown to cut back the circulate of individuals and maximize the effectiveness of mass testing.
Hong Kong officers final week introduced citywide common testing slated for March, with greater than seven million of town’s residents required to endure testing 3 times.
Officers urge towards panic
Some supermarkets had their cabinets wiped naked as residents stockpiled every day requirements after rumours circulated on social media that there was a vote within the legislature to lock down town for per week.
The legislature denied that such a matter was being mentioned.
“The Legislative Council (LegCo) Secretariat is conscious of assorted recorded voice and textual content messages being broadly unfold within the society, claiming that LegCo is present process legislative work and counting votes for imposing lockdown which prohibits members of the general public from leaving residence for seven days,” it mentioned in an announcement Monday.
“The Secretariat clarified at present (February 28) that LegCo and its committees haven’t performed any dialogue on the matter, and reiterated that every one conferences of LegCo are open, clear and broadcast stay.”
Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam, who visited the Shenzhen Bay Port on Monday night time to welcome a gaggle of mainland specialists into town, mentioned to reporters that the federal government was nonetheless assessing whether or not a lockdown can be carried out to stop residents from leaving their properties through the upcoming mass-testing train.
She additionally mentioned that residents needn’t panic and urged them to not be misled by rumours. Lam additionally mentioned that meals provides to Hong Kong had been regular.
‘Zero COVID’ coverage
Lam had beforehand mentioned a citywide lockdown was unrealistic as sure teams nonetheless wanted to exit and work.
Authorities have prolonged bodily distancing measures, comparable to a ban on restaurant eating after 6 p.m., to April and introduced ahead summer time holidays for college students to March in order that faculties might be changed into testing centres, isolation amenities and vaccination premises. College students who’ve their holidays moved ahead are more likely to attend faculty by the summer time, although worldwide faculties within the metropolis aren’t affected.
For the reason that starting of the present COVID-19 wave on the finish of 2021, town has reported 193,149 infections.
Mainland authorities have despatched knowledgeable groups and medical sources to Hong Kong, as town rushes to construct momentary isolation amenities to deal with the surge in infections.
Hong Kong continues to be aligning itself with mainland China’s “zero COVID” coverage to completely stamp out outbreaks, at the same time as many of the world has opted to stay with the virus.
Authorities have taken drastic measures over the past two months, together with locking down residential estates the place clusters of infections have been detected and quarantining and mass-testing shut contacts of contaminated sufferers.
Hong Kong has reported 205,780 infections to date, with 744 deaths. Almost 94 per cent of town’s whole case depend has come from its present wave.