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HK to ban non-residents for 14 days from Mar 25

23 March 2020

By The SUN

HK will shut its airport to non-residents, except those from China, Macau and Taiwan, starting Wed, Mar 25

Hong Kong will shut its borders to most non-residents in the city for 14 days starting on Mar 25, amid a new surge in coronavirus infections, a majority of which are imported cases. The airport will also be closed to transit passengers.

The only non-residents to be allowed in are those arriving from mainland China, Taiwan and Macau, as long as they had not traveled to a third country in the past 14 days. However, they will all be put under quarantine for 14 days on arrival, as has been the rule for all other new arrivals since Mar 19.

A special contingency measure has been put in place for returning Macau residents who have no alternative way to go home than to fly through Hong Kong. They will be allowed to fly into Hong Kong airport, but will be taken straight to Macau by coach to be provided by Macanese authorities.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam made the announcement on Monday, Mar. 23, during a press conference at the government’s headquarters.

Lam called on Hong Kong residents to be on guard against further contagion and pledged to “fight the battle seriously and have confidence to win one day”.

However, she stopped short of heeding a clamor to order the 8,600 pubs, restaurants and clubs in Hong Kong to shut down, and instead unveiled a plan to forbid the sale of liquor in the establishments.
She said the government would look at ways to impose a temporary ban on the sale of liquor, but gave no definite time frame.

“In restaurants, meals can still be served [minus alcohol] ... in bars, people sometimes get intimate after drinking, and this will raise the risk of cross-infection,” Lam said.
CE Lam says pubs and restaurants will not be allowed sell liquor temporarily

She made the announcement after no less than 10 confirmed cases were traced to bars and a gym in Central’s nightlife hub, Lan Kwai Fong, in the past few days.

They included a 29-year-old Filipino musician who had gigs in clubs in the area, and was confirmed to have the virus Sunday night.
Another 39 confirmed Covid-19 cases were confirmed today, Monday, Mar 23., taking Hong Kong’s total tally to 356. Of these new cases, 30 involved newly arrived residents.

Three Filipina domestic workers were also part of the new cases, but it was not immediately clear if they had just arrived in Hong Kong, or were close contacts of infected patients.

The new cases also included a doctor who briefed arriving travelers on quarantine procedures at Hong Kong International Airport, validating fears of a surge in contamination due to imported cases.
Lam also warned of tougher penalties on those who flout mandatory quarantine rules, including those who remove their electronic wristbands to elude detection.

“The situation has been changing rapidly. Throughout these two months, we’ve gone through many stages. Efforts have been effective in preventing a major community outbreak. The number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong is lower than that of many overseas countries. This achievement is hard-earned,” Lam said.

Hong Kong has 356 Covid-19 patients and 4 deaths amid tight measures adopted by the government to fight the pandemic.
The new travel restriction could cause more airlines to stop flying to HK
But she said the number of recent imported cases and residents becoming relaxed about precautionary measures had prompted the government to take drastic measures.

“We will continue to fight the battle and will need the collaborative efforts of everyone. We will fight the battle seriously and have confidence to win one day,” she said.

Police, aided by electronic monitoring systems, have intercepted five persons who had gone outside their homes in violation of their quarantine order. Two had removed or cut off their electronic wristbands.

A further 36 are still missing after leaving their quarantine addresses, and are now being hunted.

The CHP said all the five violators who were caught have been sent to quarantine centers, while prosecutors have begun investigating their cases.

Globally, the total number of cases is now close to 340,000 with more than 15,000 deaths and 96,000 recovered patients.

China still has the most number of cases at over 89,000, but the death rate has slowed down considerably and now stands at just over 3,000.

Italy, the new epicenter of the pandemic, has 59,138 confirmed cases and 5,476 deaths; followed by Spain with 33,089 cases and 2,182 deaths; and the United States with 32,514 and 400 deaths.
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