Stricter lockdown not out of the question for Hong Kong as confirmed cases hit 410

Hong Kong International Airport. Photo via HKIA.
Hong Kong International Airport. Photo via HKIA.

A top government advisor has said that Hong Kong authorities are mulling even tighter lockdown measures at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, even as a sweeping ban on almost all foreign arrivals went into effect.

With a steadily increasing number of new cases — the majority of them apparently imported — concerns are swirling that Hong Kong’s early successes in tamping down coronavirus infections could be lost.

Speaking to RTHK today, doctor and Executive Council member Lam Ching-choi said that the government is mulling limiting the number of people allowed to gather at any one place, or even forbidding any kind of gathering outright. It could even impose some form of compulsory lockdown, as has been seen elsewhere, including in the Philippines.

The revelation came as Hong Kong authorities today reported another 24 new infections, bringing the total number of recorded cases in the SAR to 410.

As has been the case with most recent batches of new infections ever since the start of a so-called “second wave” earlier this month, all but a handful of the new patients had recently traveled abroad.

According to the SCMP, the number of foreign arrivals jumped in the 24 hours prior to the new ban on travelers to the highest it had been in a week.

The new cases and the possibility of further local restrictions come after the government has already said it is taking steps to forbid the sale of alcohol to prevent people congregating in bars. The announcement has sent a shudder through the food and beverage industry, which was already suffering after months of anti-government protests last year.

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