Hong Kong leader Kerry Lam has warned that the city̵7;s hospital system could crash as it perceives a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.
According to her, the city “is on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak,” urging people to stay indoors.
The new rules, including mandatory face masks and the closure of dinner restaurants, were adopted on Wednesday.
Hong Kong, which had an early success against Covid-19, now regularly reports more than 100 new daily cases.
Less than a month ago, the average number of new daily cases was less than 10.
What did Carrie Lam say?
In a statement late Tuesday, Ms. Lam warned that the city was on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak that could lead to the collapse of our hospital system and the cost of living, especially for the elderly.
She urged residents to “strictly adhere to social distancing measures and stay at home as much as possible.”
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Her remarks come as Hong Kong confirmed another 106 cases of coronavirus on Tuesday and reported its 23rd total death.
A record 145 cases were recorded on Monday.
What are the new restrictions?
From Wednesday, dining in restaurants is prohibited, and only two people from different households can meet, according to the strictest rules adopted so far in Hong Kong.
Now it is also mandatory to wear face masks in all public places.
It was previously announced that places such as bars, gyms and beauty salons will be closed.
At the beginning of the month, public gatherings of up to 50 people were allowed – but this was reduced to four, and now – two.
Hasn’t Hong Kong been a success story for the virus?
It definitely looked like that for a start.
At the beginning of the outbreak, cross-border travel with China fell sharply, “tracks” were introduced and other restrictions were imposed.
Earlier this year, the city passed weeks without a case being transferred to the field.
But as life began to return to normal, there was an increase in cases transmitted on the ground. The average number of new cases has risen from single figures at the beginning of the month to more than 120 now.
One professor at the University of Hong Kong said the cases were probably due to “shortcomings in border procedures in Hong Kong.”
Jin Dongyang told the Global Times that “patients from abroad may have transmitted the virus to communities, leading to the current local transmission.”
The last person to die from the virus was a resident of a home where at least 45 infections were reported.
Local scientists have expressed concern that a strain of the virus circulating in Hong Kong could cause more damage.
It is said that he did not mutate for at least 22 days, which means that he could adapt well to humans, becoming easier to transmit.
Will there still be elections?
The new measures come amid reports that parliamentary elections in Hong Kong – the Legislative Council – may be postponed for a year.
Newsletters HK01, the Hong Kong Economic Times and TVB said the government had made a decision that had not yet been officially announced due to coronavirus problems.
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The election is scheduled for September 6.
However, opposition figures suggest that the transfer is intended to dispel anger over the new national security law.