'Tell confused residents if lockdown is happening' - RTHK
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'Tell confused residents if lockdown is happening'

2021-01-22 HKT 22:10
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  • District councillors say residents are anxious, worried and confused, and some have been going on supermarket runs while others are fleeing the district entirely. Photo: RTHK
    District councillors say residents are anxious, worried and confused, and some have been going on supermarket runs while others are fleeing the district entirely. Photo: RTHK
Yau Tsim Mong district councillors on Friday demanded clarification from the government over whether it will impose a partial lockdown on the Covid-19-hit district, after a day of swirling rumours that some people could be confined to their homes unless they have proof of a recent negative Covid test.

The councillors called a press conference in the evening to relay the confusion and frustration experienced by residents, as officials failed to confirm or deny the widespread reports.

The vice-chairman of the Yau Tsim Mong District Council, Andy Yu, said deprived of credible information, many residents had rushed out during the day to stock up on food and other essential goods over fears that they might be stuck inside their homes for days.

Another councillor, Frank Ho, who represents the hard-hit area of Jordan North, said he has fielded multiple calls from tearful residents – one of whom was left fretting about an appointment for hemodialysis treatment the following morning.

“Most of them would like to know more about what’s happening and they still need to deal with the changes. Maybe some people… they have to go to work tomorrow, or they have to go to the hospital… so many different kinds [complaints] that we have received,” Ho said.

The councillors demanded a definitive answer from the government immediately, so residents know what to expect.

Many said a lockdown doesn’t make sense in any case, saying the problem may be environmental – with many run-down buildings in the area having ill-fitting, or altered pipes that may be helping to propagate the virus.

Prominent microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung of the University of Hong Kong had inspected one Covid-affected residential building on Friday, and said afterwards he thinks the virus may well have be spread via sewage pipes.

Councillor Suzanne Wu said the government’s approach is ‘ridiculous.’

“Trapping people in an environment that may have already been contaminated only increases the risk [of infection],” she said.

Forcing people to get negative Covid tests doesn’t make any sense either, she argued, because if the problem is environmental, residents would always at risk of catching the disease, no matter how many times they test negative.

She said councillors have been raising concerns about partially-open pipes in many buildings since February last year, only for them to be ignored.