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Hong Kong warns the city on the brink of widespread coronavirus infections



A man wearing a protective face mask takes pictures of the sunset on Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront as panoramic buildings stand above Victoria Harbor after a coronary heart disease outbreak (COVID-1

9) in Hong Kong, China on July 28, 2020. REUTERS / Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned that the city is on the brink of a large-scale coronavirus outbreak and has urged people to stay indoors as much as possible as strict new measures to curb the spread of the disease will take effect on Wednesday.

The new regulations prohibit the gathering of more than two people, the eating of restaurants and the mandatory use of face masks in public places, including outdoors. These are the strictest measures in place in the city since the outbreak.

The government has also tightened testing and quarantine arrangements for sea and air crew members, effective Wednesday.

“We are on the verge of a large-scale outbreak of the disease in the community, which could lead to the collapse of our hospital system and the lives of people, especially the elderly,” Lam said in a statement late Tuesday.

“In order to protect our loved ones, our healthcare professionals and Hong Kong, I urge you to adhere strictly to the measures to separate from society and stay as much at home as possible.”

The new measures, which will be in place for at least seven days, were announced on Monday after the global financial hub saw a sharp increase in locally transmitted cases over the past three weeks.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong reported 106 new cases of coronaviruses, 98 of which were sent locally. Since the end of January, more than 2,880 people have been infected in the former British colony, 23 of whom have died.

Report by Twinnie Siu and Anne Marie Roantree; Edited by Christian Christian Schmollinger

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