HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) – Hong Kong’s outgoing leader Carrie Lam urged residents to avoid banquets and other large gatherings amid a resurgence in the Asian financial hub’s Covid-19 outbreak, but held off from imposing new social distancing restrictions as the number of serious infections remains low.
The number of new cases has exceeded 1,000 for the past three consecutive days, the highest level in two months, Ms Lam said at a hastily called press briefing on Friday afternoon (June 17).
The number of imported cases among newly arrived travellers exceeded 100 within the past week, a first since the pandemic began.
Ms Lam didn’t impose additional restrictions, however, saying the city’s health care system is holding up and is prepared to handle the current level of infection.
There was no reprieve for the city’s students, who must continue to get daily Covid-19 tests to attend school in person.
Staff members in elderly care homes also are required to get at least three vaccinations, Ms Lam said.
The rising number of cases in the city has caused unease before the city’s July 1 handover anniversary marking 25 years since Britain returned the city to China’s control.
A potential visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to mark the event means city officials are under pressure to control the outbreak, with Ms Lam previously saying she is trying to create “favourable conditions” before the event.
The city this week started requiring patrons to show a negative rapid test result before entering bars and clubs after a series of clusters were linked to these venues.
While more than 350 infections were tied to the bar outbreaks, they account for less than 4 per cent of the total number of cases in June.