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Residents left bewildered by sudden quarantine move

2021-01-14 HKT 16:09
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  • Residents left bewildered by sudden quarantine move
Damon Pang reports
The authorities have been criticised for their sudden and surprise move to send dozens of residents of a Jordan tenement block into quarantine, with a local councillor saying there should have been better communication with the community.

Without making any public announcement, officials went to the block at 20-26 Reclamation Street overnight to evacuate residents, after more than 20 people living there came down with coronavirus.

Police cordoned off the block as residents were taken to quarantine centres or designated hotels on shuttle buses.

A Yau Tsim Mong district councillor, Frank Ho, criticised officials for the hasty arrangements, saying they should have communicated better with the residents affected.

"They have to give the residents a bit more time to go to the quarantine centre. The communication this time between the government, residents and district councillors was very poor," he said.

Ho added that officials should have put up notices in English and Nepalese at the block, because some ethnic minority residents there don't read Chinese.

Some residents appeared to be confused about the mandatory quarantine measure.

A Nepalese woman told reporters she was asleep and didn't answer the door when health officials came around.

A journalist helped her call a government hotline to find out where to go for quarantine, and the operator said the woman's information was marked down and she should stay at home to wait for updates.

Another resident said he had just finished work in the morning, and his wife and neighbour hadn't left for quarantine by the time he returned home. He said he was puzzled why officials hadn't given them notice of the move.

Mandatory coronavirus tests had been ordered earlier in the week after infections at the block.

The Centre for Health Protection explained on Thursday afternoon that it had later decided to take a more cautious approach than usual to minimise the possible spread of Covid-19, and so officials had taken around 80 residents of the block into quarantine.