| 29 September 2022, Thursday |

Hong Kong locks down thousands in COVID-19 housing block

Authorities stated Friday that almost 3,000 residents of a Hong Kong housing complex would be restricted to their homes for five days as they work to contain an outbreak of the omicron coronavirus strain.

The extended lockdown order, similar to those employed on the Chinese mainland, comes as Hong Kong adheres even more firmly to Beijing’s “zero-COVID” policy.

According to health official Sophia Chan, at least 20 confirmed or preliminary positive cases were discovered in a public housing unit in the Kwai Chung district.

“There is clearly a community epidemic, and the situation is concerning,” Chan told reporters.

A security officer, a cleaner, and other people living in non-adjacent flats have all been infected, with the cause suspected to be a male who visited the property on January 13.

“These virus clusters are particularly dangerous due to superspreading,” Chan warned.

The illness might have been transmitted by a cleaner who had to work floor by floor, according to Edwin Tsui, director of the Centre for Health Protection.

Some 2,700 residents will be required to stay at home until January 26 and be examined on a regular basis.

Hong Kong, like China, is eradicating even the smallest trace of the virus through largely restricted borders, contact tracking, targeted lockdowns, and lengthy quarantines.

The five-day “snap shutdown” marks the city’s longest ever. Previous building lockdowns were often overnight, with inhabitants permitted to exit provided a negative test result was obtained.

Those who test positive are sent to isolation units, while close relatives are sent to a government quarantine camp.

The Hong Kong government has stated that it will supply impacted residents with food and anti-epidemic materials.

However, according to local media accounts, several people were seen buying goods in quantity on Friday afternoon.

Hong Kong’s tight laws have kept the city virus-free yet isolated on a global scale.

After an Omicron epidemic began last month, the already stringent social-distancing norms were tightened even further.

  • AFP