Hong Kong has placed thousands of its residents in a lockdown to contain a new outbreak of the coronavirus, the first such measure the Chinese-ruled city has taken since the pandemic began.
The order effective on Saturday covers multiple housing blocks in the neighbourhood of Jordan in Kowloon Peninsula.“Persons subject to compulsory testing are required to stay in their premises until all such persons identified in the area have undergone testing and the test results are mostly ascertained,” the government said in a statement, adding it planned to complete testing in 48 hours.Officials said they planned to test everyone inside the designated zone for the next two days “in order to achieve the goal of zero cases in the district”.
The South China Morning Post said the measures covered about 150 housing blocks and up to 9,000 people with hundreds of police on standby to enforce the lockdown.
Hong Kong was one of the first places to be struck by the coronavirus after it burst out of central China.
It has kept infections to less than 10,000 with some 170 deaths by imposing effective but economically punishing social distancing measures for much of the last year.
Earlier, the Post reported that the measure also covers Sham Shui Po district.
Jordan and Sham Shui Po are home to many older flats that have been subdivided to make room for more people, providing the kind of conditions in which the virus could spread more easily.
“Persistently high and spreading infection [in the areas] and sewage surveillance suggest the outbreak is not yet under control, and many silent sources still exist within the area,” a source had told The Post.