'Third wave' of coronavirus cases hits Hong Kong

‘Third wave’ of coronavirus cases hits Hong Kong as the city reports 24 new infections

  • Hong Kong reported 24 new COVID-19 cases today, bringing the total to 1,324
  • Nineteen of those cases were listed as local infections and five were imported
  • A health official yesterday warned the city had entered its third wave of cases 
  • Authorities have unveiled new anti-virus measures to battle a surge of patients

A ‘third wave’ of coronavirus cases has hit Hong Kong, a local health official has warned, after the city registered a surge in COVID-19 infections.

Hong Kong has been widely praised for its timely and effective efforts against the coronavirus outbreak. 

But the financial centre has reported 24 infections today after recording nearly 100 cases within a week. In June, the city only detected a total of 21 cases.

The authorities have unveiled a series of anti-virus measures, including controlling the flow of people returning from higher-risk countries and requiring domestic helpers to quarantine in hotels on arrival, to battle the new outbreak.

Hong Kong has reported 24 new COVID-19 cases today as the city braced its third wave of coronavirus infections, a senior health official has warned. This file picture taken on April 21 shows Hong Kong citizens donning protective face marks waiting to cross the road in Central

The authorities have unveiled a series of anti-virus measures, including controlling the flow of people returning from higher-risk countries. This file picture taken on April 23 shows a woman being released from a quarantine hotel in Hong Kong after she has tested negative for the virus

The financial hub reported 24 new cases today after registering 14 infections yesterday. 

Nineteen of those fresh infections are native while five are imported from abroad, according to the government. 

As of Wednesday, Hong Kong has reported a total of 1,324 confirmed COVID-19 cases and seven deaths. 

Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable diseases branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said in a press briefing on Tuesday that the Asian financial hub entered its third wave of the coronavirus outbreak, according to South China Morning Post.

She told reporters: ‘We are worried that there will be a massive community outbreak, with so many sources of infection.’

Health minister Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee, who described the situation ‘very alarming’, announced the government’s strategy to contain the new surge of cases.

The Hong Kong government said that they will organise the return of its residents from countries deemed as high-risk, such as Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and South Africa.

Foreign domestic workers will be required to undergo pre-boarding coronavirus screening before flying to Hong Kong. Their employers must arrange 14-day mandatory quarantine on arrival at designated hotels in the city.

The authorities said that they were also looking into tightening social-distancing measures at restaurants and entertainment venues.

Chuang said in the media conference the latest outbreak was caused by an increase in social activities in the city over the past few weeks, according to Asia Times.

She said that people may have paid less attention to social distancing rules than they should have because there were fewer local infections recorded last month.

‘The re-emerge of local cases showed that the transmission chain through asymptomatic patients in Hong Kong has never been cut off,’ Wong Ka-hing, the controller of the Centre for Health Protection, said in the media briefing.

Hong Kong has been embroiled in political unrest after China’s central government imposed a tough new law on the city that critics view as a further deterioration of freedoms promised to the former British colony. A man is detained by riot police during a demonstration on July 1

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (2nd left), joins Hong Kong executives at China’s new Office for Safeguarding National Security in Hong Kong, Wednesday, July 8, 2020

The news comes as Hong Kong has been embroiled in political unrest after China’s central government imposed a tough new law on the city that critics view as a further deterioration of freedoms promised to the former British colony.

Beijing has inaugurated its national security office in Hong Kong today, where China’s intelligence agents will monitor the semi-autonomous territory’s internal affairs for ‘terrorist activities or foreign intervention’. 

Hong Kong’s education bureau also announced on Wednesday that schools must not allow students to play, sing or broadcast the protest anthem ‘Glory to Hong Kong’ because it contains political messages.

Last week, the city criminalised the pro-democracy slogan ‘Liberate Hong Kong, revolution of our time’ under the new national security law, which took effect on June 30.

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