16 more COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong as city sees second day of double-digit jump

Photo via Unsplash/bigdodzy
Photo via Unsplash/bigdodzy

Hong Kong authorities confirmed 16 new COVID-19 cases, all of them returnees from Pakistan who flew back to the city last Sunday.

The new infections Tuesday mark the second consecutive day of a double-digit increase in the number of virus cases. Yesterday, the city recorded 30 new COVID-19 cases, the largest single-day jump in more than two months. Except for one who had come back from the Philippines, all of the new cases are returning travelers from Pakistan.

As of Tuesday, Hong Kong has reported 112 COVID-19 infections from Pakistan, making the South Asian the second-largest source of imported cases after the United Kingdom.

Graph shows the country breakdown of coronavirus cases as of June 23, 2020. Photo via Hong Kong Center of Health Protection
Graph shows the country breakdown of coronavirus cases as of June 22, 2020. Photo via Hong Kong Center of Health Protection

Hong Kong has a total of 1,178 coronavirus cases. Six people have died after contracting the virus, including a 72-year-old male patient who passed on Tuesday morning. He is the second coronavirus-related fatality at the Sha Tin housing estate where nine people have been infected.

Today marks the tenth consecutive day with no reported local transmission.

The outbreak in Hong Kong has largely stabilized in recent months. Except for two contained clusters of patients reported in mid-May and earlier this month, the last local case was reported on April 19.

Authorities said in May that they were working on introducing a system that would allow travelers to visit Macau and Guangdong without undergoing a 14-day quarantine, contingent on a QR code certifying they are virus-free. The plan would effectively create a “travel bubble” between Hong Kong, Macau and Guangdong.

But Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in a press conference Tuesday morning that there are “technical issues” that have stalled plans to reopen.

Social distancing regulations have gradually been loosened with the easing of the virus—last Friday, authorities relaxed a ban on gatherings larger than eight people to allow meetings of up to 50. Karaoke lounges and party rooms were reopened at the end of last month, and theme parks Disneyland and Ocean Park are back in business after a four-month closure.

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