Hong Kong has ordered thousands of residents to remain in their homes ahead of the city’s first Covid-19 lockdown, with China deploying 1,700 officers to enforce the restrictions in hopes of containing the outbreak.
The measures in the Yau Tsim Mong district are set to come into effect at midnight on Friday and will cover 150 housing blocks that contain around 9,000 people. Individuals will be barred from leaving their homes unless they can present a negative Covid-19 test, and the planned quarantine will remain in place until everyone within the cordoned off area has been tested.
While strict measures are being implemented, three groups will be allowed some lenience. Residents and relatives will be given permission to come and go if they are providing care and staff members in the healthcare industry will be permitted to continue working.
A video by Bloomberg describes the street markets as being unusually empty.
“Most of the stalls behind me are closed.”— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) January 22, 2021
Hong Kong will order its first-ever lockdown to contain a worsening #Covid19 outbreak before #LunarNewYear. @ChloecLoNews heads to Kowloon’s normally bustling Jordan district affected by the new measures https://t.co/j0v1OTagAt pic.twitter.com/JjKCw6xbnM
To reduce the need for people to leave their homes, the government will provide food and necessities to people in the area.
To allow officials to closely monitor the situation, a command center will be established and work with NGOs to reassure the public, maintain calm, and provide support.
Once the measures are in place, police and health officials are planning to move from door to door, inspecting residents and assessing the extent of the outbreak in the area. They are also expected to set up testing sites throughout the affected district to minimize travel for potentially infectious individuals.
In recent days, Hong Kong has reported 61 new Covid-19 infections, with 55 of them having occurred through local transmission. Officials have not yet been able to trace 26 of the positive cases.