'HK may need a virtual lockdown if surge continues' - RTHK
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'HK may need a virtual lockdown if surge continues'

2020-07-20 HKT 11:45
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  • Hong Kong University expert Yuen Kwok-yung says people were more lax this time compared with their approach to the outbreaks earlier this year. File photo: RTHK
    Hong Kong University expert Yuen Kwok-yung says people were more lax this time compared with their approach to the outbreaks earlier this year. File photo: RTHK
Joanne Wong reports
Top microbiology expert Professor Yuen Kwok-yung warned on Monday Hong Kong may have to go into a virtual lockdown if the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase in the next seven to 14 days

“We might possibly need to lock down, not a lockdown of the whole city, but... close to a lockdown,” Yuen told a Commercial Radio programme.

He said the outbreak could be attributed to failure to control who goes through the border including quarantine exemptions, and that the outbreak rebounded after Father’s Day when a number of social-distancing restrictions were lifted.

Yuen said the current surge can also be linked to Hong Kong people “underestimating the enemy”. He said people were more lax this time compared with their approach early this year when the first and second wave of Covid cases hit the city.

He said government response was also too slow this time because they’re still trying to balance business and epidemic prevention, and that the government’s Covid-19 response was a lot better in February and March.

Health experts have called for stricter measures since Hong Kong started experiencing a new wave of Covid cases, warning that this surge was more serious than what the city witnessed in March.

The Carrie Lam administration had come under criticism last week after it ruled out measures like allowing civil servants to work from home. Top officials had said the situation was different from the surges earlier this year as there was a shortage of protective equipment like face masks at that time.

But on Sunday the government announced a rash of severe restrictions, such as making face masks compulsory in indoor venues and ordering civil servants to work from home, after Hong Kong saw a record number of coronavirus cases in a single day.