Despite appearing to successfully flatten the curve from April onwards, Hong Kong is now fighting its worst outbreak of the Covid-19 virus since January.
The new outbreak is escalating, leading authorities to impose strict restrictions once more. Among those is a ban on eating in restaurants in the evening, with eateries only permitted to offer a takeaway service between the hours of 6 pm and 5 am. Yesterday another 52 people were reported as being infected with Covid-19.
A report in Coconuts says the new measures are among the most stringent since the virus first hit Hong Kong at the start of the year. Chief Executive Carrie Lam says other rules in place include the mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport, including taxis. It’s understood several recent cases can be linked to taxi drivers. Anyone who refuses to wear a face mask while in a taxi or on public transport can be fined HK$5,000 (around 20,000 baht).
A ban on gatherings of more than 4 people has been re-imposed, having been eased last month to allow groups of up to 50. Lam says the number of locally transmitted cases is accelerating, with public health officials describing it as the worst wave since the outbreak began. Over 250 new cases have been recorded in the last week, with nearly 75% being cases of community transmission.
“The spike in local cases is what we are concerned about. Lately, we did have new cases almost every day, but they were mostly imported. Eight or ten days would go by without a single local case. But now, within eight days, we’ve recorded 182 cases. “
Of additional concern is the fact that around 30% of non-imported cases cannot be linked to any known clusters, meaning asymptomatic carriers may be spreading the virus. Hong Kong has now recorded 1,522 Covid-19 cases and 8 deaths.