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Hong Kong leader says coronavirus now spreading ‘out of control’

Hong Kong leader says coronavirus now spreading ‘out of control’

AFPJuly 19, 2020

Commuters wear face masks on a metro train in Hong Kong. The city's leader says coronavirus is running "out of control" after a daily record number of new cases
Commuters wear face masks on a metro train in Hong Kong. The city’s leader says coronavirus is running “out of control” after a daily record number of new cases (AFP Photo/Anthony WALLACE)

The deadly coronavirus is spreading out of control in Hong Kong with a record 100 new cases confirmed, the finance hub’s leader said Sunday as she tightened social distancing measures to tackle the sudden surge in infections.

The finance hub was one of the first places to be struck by the virus when it emerged from central China.

But the city had impressive success in tackling the disease, all but ending local transmissions by late June.

However, in the last two weeks, infections have spiked once more and doctors fear the new outbreak is now spreading undetected in the densely packed territory of 7.5 million people.

On Sunday chief executive Carrie Lam said more than 500 infections had been confirmed in the last fortnight alone, nearly a third since the outbreak began.

On Sunday 108 new infections were recorded by health authorities, a daily high for the finance hub, bringing the total to 1,886 cases.

“I think the situation is really critical and there is no sign the situation is being brought under control,” Lam told reporters.

Lam announced new social distancing measures last week, shuttering many businesses including bars, gyms and nightclubs, and ordering everyone to wear masks on public transport.

Restaurants were ordered to only offer takeout services in the evenings.

On Sunday Lam announced even more regulations, including plans to make it compulsory to wear masks inside any public indoor venue — and a new order for non-essential civil servants to work for home.

As hospital wards fill, officials are also scrambling to build a further 2,000 isolation rooms on barren land near the city’s Disneyland resort to monitor and treat those who test positive, she added.

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