Coronavirus situation critical and out of control, says Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam


Health authorities registered 108 new infections on Sunday, a daily record for Hong Kong

Hong Kong:

The deadly coronavirus is spreading out of control in Hong Kong with a record 100 new confirmed cases, the financial center manager said Sunday as she stepped up social distancing measures to curb the sudden surge in infections.

The financial center was one of the first places affected by the virus when it left central China.

But the city has had impressive success in fighting the disease, but ended local transmissions in late June.

However, in the past two weeks, infections have increased again and doctors fear that the new epidemic will now spread without being detected in the densely populated territory of 7.5 million people.

CEO Carrie Lam said more than 500 infections have been confirmed in the past two weeks, nearly a third since the start of the epidemic, on Sunday.

Health officials reported 108 new infections on Sunday, a daily high for the financial center, bringing the total to 1,886 cases.

“I think the situation is really critical and there is no sign that the situation is under control,” Lam told reporters.

Lam announced new social distancing measures last week, shutting down many businesses, including bars, gyms and nightclubs, and ordering everyone to wear masks on public transportation.

Restaurants have been ordered to only offer takeout services in the evening.

Lam announced even more regulations on Sunday, including plans to make masks mandatory inside any indoor public place – and a new order for non-essential civil servants to work from home.

As hospital wards fill up, authorities are also scrambling to build another 2,000 isolation rooms on barren land near the Disneyland resort to monitor and treat those who are positive, she added.

Hong Kong was already mired in recession when the pandemic hit thanks to the US-China trade war and months of political unrest last year.

The new partial lockdown has exacerbated economic misery.

Lam called on landlords on Sunday to consider reducing rents in the notoriously expensive city of inequality.

She said further social distancing measures would be rolled out if the daily infection rate did not decrease in the coming days.

However, she said that she wanted to avoid ordering people to stay at home.

“We can’t just make a simple, extreme move to cut everything at once,” said Lam.

Authorities say the tests will be stepped up, targeting high-risk populations such as taxi drivers and restaurant workers after clusters are discovered in their ranks.

Some of the new infections have spread to nursing homes, a source of major concern given the mortality of the coronavirus for the elderly.

So far, twelve people have died from contracting the virus in Hong Kong – four in the past two weeks.

Lam said officials will try to strike a balance between protecting health and keeping the economy partially afloat.

“It is difficult to say what type of measures we will have to implement … many places have ordered people to stay at home,” she said.

“We haven’t adopted this in the past six months because we wanted to maintain a normal life for everyone.”

(With the exception of the title, this story was not edited by GalacticGaming staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)


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