In the first sign of confirmation that the current COVID resurgence taking place in northeastern China might be more widespread than the Chinese state (and its attendant party-controlled press organs) have been letting on, the city of Hong Kong on Friday just announced its first-ever lockdown, a measure that is reminiscent of the harsher measures used to combat the outbreak of SARs, which hammered the tiny (formally) autonomous city state nearly 20 years ago.
According to the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong will lock down around 150 residential buildings in coronavirus-hit Yau Tsim Mong district. To enforce the measure, the city will deploy more than 1.7K “disciplined services officers” – 500 from police, and the rest from customs, immigration, fire services and correctional services – in an “unprecedented” bid to protect a neighborhood stuffed with ageing, subdivided flats, apartments.
Like elsewhere in China, new cases in Hong Kong have been rising in recent weeks, with the city recording 61 new coronavirus cases on Friday, including 55 that were locally transmitted. Twenty-six cases deemed “untraceable.” Another 50 people tested preliminary-positive, and are awaiting confirmation.
The lockdown is expected to begin at midnight in the district’s designated mandatory testing area. Sources earlier clarified that Sham Shui Po district, originally believed to be included in the plan, was not yet affected.
Elsewhere in China, authorities in Beijing and Hubei are setting up more rounds of mandatory COVID testing covering millions of people as they continue to scramble to keep the virus out of Beijing.