Hong Kong on Wednesday took the “strictest” measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, when CEO Carrie Lam warned of a possible “large-scale” outbreak.
The city continues to order face masks, banning evening restaurant services and public gatherings for more than two people as cases continue to rise. Gyms, bars and lounges were also closed.
“We are on the verge of a large-scale outbreak of a disease in the community that could lead to the collapse of our hospital system and the lives of people, especially the elderly,” Lam said in a statement on the video late Tuesday.
While the city had an average of less than 10 new cases each day less than a month ago and managed to avoid blocking due to travel restrictions from China and contact tracing, health officials recorded a record 145 cases on Monday and 106 Tuesday. According to a BBC report, the city has often reported more than 100 cases a day, according to the BBC report.
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“I urge you to adhere strictly to social distance measures and stay at home as much as possible,” Lam added. “If we are united and work together, we can suppress this epidemic again.” She added that the central government is trying to help Hong Kong expand its testing capabilities.
The increase in cases coincided in time with the easing of social restrictions. Jin Dongyan, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, speculated on “borderline procedures” that led to a sharp rise in cases.
“This is probably because there have been some shortcomings in border procedures in Hong Kong and some foreign patients have been able to bring the virus to the communities, resulting in the current local transmission,” Jin told the Global Times earlier this month.
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According to the BBC and CNBC in Hong Kong, a total of 2,884 cases and 23 deaths were reported.