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CE warns quarantine violators of tough sanctions

24 March 2020

By The SUN


CE Lam vows full crackdown on quarantine violators

As the as the clock ticked towards a 14-day ban on non-residents, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam has warned violators of home quarantine orders that their acts are illegal, and that they could be arrested and held without bail

Lam announced the city's shutdown on Monday, after the second wave of infections in the city were found to have been imported cases, or linked to people with recent travel history. 

All foreigners will be barred from entering Hong Kong starting at midnight tonight, Mar 25, while everyone allowed to get in - residents and those arriving directly from Macau and Taiwan - will be put under mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

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Lam said it was “very disappointing and distressing” to know people were violating quarantine rules.

“These people who openly violated the mandatory home quarantine order will increase the risk of virus transmission,” Lam said, calling the behavior “very irresponsible.”

She mentioned a quarantine violator who was prosecuted in Tuen Mun court earlier, and held without bail.
“We appeal to these groups of people not to defy the law. Is it worth having a criminal record for going out once?,” she asked.

Under the home quarantine rules, violators face a penalty of up to $25,000 and imprisonment of six months. In addition, they could be sent to a quarantine facility instead of back to their homes.

Her warning came an uproar caused by pictures and videos showing people in home quarantine straying out of their registered addresses to dine out or buy daily supplies at supermarkets.
 
The 13-year-old who violated her quarantine was filmed eating in a restaurant while wearing her wristband
A13-year-old girl who was filmed dining in a Japanese restaurant in Shatin with her uncle while wearing her tracking wristband was sent by police to a government quarantine facility.

A male diner who spotted the girl followed her and her uncle outside, then stopped a taxi driver from giving them a ride. The pair ran into the Courtyard by Marriott hotel in Shatin where the girl was arrested by police.

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Three other violators of the quarantine were caught by police within hours of their arrival in Hong Kong and sent immediately to government quarantine facilities or hospitals.

Meanwhile, fast-food giant McDonald’s has suspended dine-in services after 6pm in all of its 244 outlets in Hong Kong for two weeks, in response to the continuous spread of the coronavirus.

McDonald’s said that from Mar 25, operations will be limited to delivery and takeaway after 6pm, while delivery fees will be waived from 6pm to 12 midnight.
Dine-in service will resume at 4am each day in its 24-hour locations while all other outlets will restart at their normal opening hours.

Hong Kong today recorded 30 new coronavirus infections, raising its total tally to 386.

The new patients included six Filipinos who worked in Lan Kwai Fong. Five are musicians, and the sixth is a waitress. Also among the new cases are a newly-arrived Filipina domestic worker.

Of the new cases, 19 had traveled abroad recently, including a Cathay Pacific flight attendant and a tour guide.

As the number of patients in Hong Kong increased, the World Health Organization warned the pandemic is accelerating and urged governments to take “aggressive and targeted tactics” to contain its spread.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued the warning as the death toll from Covid-19 kept rising. He said it had taken 67 days from the first reported case to the first 100,000 infections, and just 11 days for the number to soar to the second 100,000.

“[It was] just four days for the third 100,000 cases. You can see how the virus is accelerating,” he said on Tuesday. “But we’re not prisoners to statistics. We’re not helpless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic.”

As of this writing, the global tally of infected persons had risen to nearly 380,000 with total deaths approaching 17,000.
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