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HK to step up lockdowns and mass testing before CNY

01 February 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Cheung says there will be at least one lockdown per day in the next 10 days

The Hong Kong government will enforce lockdowns from today on any premises found to have even just a single case of coronavirus infection, officials said in a press conference today, Feb. 1.

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung said everyone will be required to get tested if a single untraceable infection is found in their buildings, be it residential or commercial.

To ensure this is carried out, surprise lockdowns will be stepped up in the coming 10 days, or until just before the start of the Lunar New Year on Feb 12.

Cheung said at least one such operation will be carried out each day in various districts.

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“We are determined to make an all-our effect over the next 10 days just before the eve of the Lunar New Year to mount operations,” he said.

“We expect, depending on the development of the pandemic situations, to mount at least one operation per day in different districts.”


Cheung dismissed criticism that the government’s two most recent lockdowns in North Point and Laguna City were a dud because not a single case of infection was found among the hundreds of residents tested.

“That’s good news. That means that area has zero infection,” he said.


Cheung also said the current social distancing rules will be extended until Feb 17, or two days after the Lunar New Year, because experts need more time to see an improvement in the coronavirus situation in the city.

No new case was found after the lockdown of Laguna City last night and North Point last week 

Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui said 60 fixed penalty tickets, each costing $5,000, have been issued to residents who failed to comply with mandatory testing. But so far, no prosecutions have been initiated.

“We don’t want to penalize people, we want everyone to be tested,” Tsui said.

The officials said the main purpose of ramping up the testing is to cut the silent transmission chain in the community.

Previously, mandatory testing was ordered for residents of buildings where at least four unrelated infections were found. This was further lowered to two unlinked infections, and then most recently, to a single case in so-called “designated areas.”

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Locking down an area anywhere in the city where a single case is reported is the most stringent measure taken so far to combat the spread of the virus.

“One of the reasons why we are lowering the threshold is because we want to be ahead of the epidemic curve,” Dr Sophia Chan, Secretary for Food and Health said.

Chan said the purpose is to find all the silent transmission chains, “and cut them off.”

Yeung says more face-to-face classes may be held after the Lunar New Year

Meanwhile, Education Secretary Kevin Yeung said officials will meet with school representatives this week to decide how face-to-face classes can be increased after the holidays.

In the past month, he said there was a limited face-to-face arrangement for some classes, and no major outbreak was reported.

He said the Education Bureau is looking into increasing the time for this kind of school interaction from the end of this month, but it will still only allow half a day of classes to avoid students getting together for lunch.

In the meantime, teachers and other school staff will be encouraged to take Covid-19 tests more frequently for added safeguard.

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