Jordan lockdown came too late: expert - RTHK
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Jordan lockdown came too late: expert

2021-01-25 HKT 11:48
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  • Ho Pak-leung says some of the hundreds of people who fled Jordan just before the lockdown may bring the virus back with them. Photo: RTHK
    Ho Pak-leung says some of the hundreds of people who fled Jordan just before the lockdown may bring the virus back with them. Photo: RTHK
Jimmy Choi reports
An infectious disease expert said on Monday that he believes it was necessary for the government to put part of Jordan under lockdown at the weekend, but it should have been done sooner.

Officials say 0.17 percent, or 13 people out of more than 7,000 tested in the restricted area, were found to be infected with the virus.

Speaking on an RTHK programme, Ho Pak-leung from the University of Hong Kong’s Department of Microbiology said if the 150-160 cases previously detected in the area are taken into account, the positive infection rate among some 8,000 residents there is around 2.5 percent.

He said he believes it was necessary for the government to seal off the area, but said it should have been done up to two weeks earlier when there was clear evidence of Covid transmissions. Ho said infected people might already have spread the virus to other places before the lockdown.

The expert warned that completing one round of mass testing in the area doesn’t mean that the virus won’t return to the community. He said some of the hundreds of people who fled the area just before the lockdown may bring the virus back with them when they return to their homes.

Meanwhile another medical expert, Leung Chi-chiu, said the number of cases found wasn't high and he believes the weekend lockdown wasn't the best use of resources.

He said the cases could have been detected through mandatory testing, adding that experience from other compulsory testing exercises shows that most residents would be willing to cooperate.

Leung said with the city having recorded over 200 untraceable cases in the past week, the virus is already spreading in different areas.

He said the government could have used its manpower and resources to carry out testing in various places, rather than focus on the lockdown.

Asked whether he thinks there’s a need to impose a lockdown around the Yau Ma Tei Fruit Market – where dozens of cases have been found – Leung said sealing off the area would greatly affect vendors and residents, and it would also be difficult to trace the large number of customers who have visited the market recently.

Leung said he believes it would be better for the government to just carry out mandatory testing in the area.