Hong Kong residents urged to stay home

HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam yesterday urged residents to stay home as the city grapples with a resurgence of the coronavirus, which has infected over 500 people in the past week.

Lam asked citizens to “refrain from social gatherings” and said that people, in particular the elderly, should remain at home.

“The latest wave of the epidemic is rather severe. Every one of us should do our best and exercise a high level of discipline to fight the pandemic,” she said at a regular news conference.

“The coming two weeks is a crucial period.” Many of the new infections in Hong Kong have been tied to dance studios, and outbreaks have also been found among staff and guests at several restaurants.

The new wave of infections has led authorities to tighten social distancing restrictions, including closing entertainment venues such as karaoke centres and game centres and limiting public gatherings to two people.

A hotline has been set up to allow the public to report large gatherings onboard yachts.

The growing number of cases has delayed a “travel bubble” between Singapore and Hong Kong initially slated for November.

The bubble would have allowed visitors to travel between the cities without undergoing quarantines if they tested negative for the coronavirus. A statement by Singapore’s Civil Aviation Authority yesterday said both cities have decided to postpone the bubble beyond December, given the high number of local cases in Hong Kong.

As of Monday, Hong Kong has reported 6,315 cases, including 109 deaths.

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus wait outside a bakery in Hong Kong. PHOTO: AP