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No need to panic as details of mass testing still under study, says govt

01 March 2022

By The SUN


Panicked residents emptied supermarket shelves for a second straight day

The government has urged the public not to “engage in irrational behavior” after people went into panic buying mode and wiped out food supplies from many supermarket shelves amid reports of a lockdown during the territory-wide Covid-19 testing.

The statement was issued as people lined up at supermarkets for a second straight day, fearing a hard lockdown that could last for a few days, leaving them without food and other supplies.


The dark mood was reinforced by supermarkets and banks closing down some branches, saying they wanted to protect their staff against the virus.

The government said it was totally understandable for people to feel anxious and worried because of the severity of the fifth wave of the epidemic and the continuous rise in both the confirmed cases and deaths.


“This is nonetheless the moment when they should stay vigilant and heed the information disseminated by the government, so as to avoid being misled by rumors spread by individuals with ulterior motives and succumbing to unnecessary fear and irrational behavior,” said the statement.

It added that because of the sheer scale of the scheme, officials needed to work out a plan carefully. But once the details are finalized, they will be widely publicized to avoid any misunderstanding or chaos.


Authorities will also carefully study its impact on the local economy and people’s lives, saying whatever arrangement is made will take into account the need to safeguard Hong Kong’s position as a global financial hub.

At the same time, it noted that in mass testing schemes in other parts of the world the basic needs of citizens such as food, necessities and the seeking of medical attention outside home should be addressed. Thus, there is no need for people to panic or hoard supplies.

To ensure that there is a steady supply of goods, the government said major supermarkets have been contacted, while working closely with Guangdong and Shenzhen officials to broaden the means to bring in fresh food, vegetables and other goods from across the border.


Meanwhile, various media reports said a nine-day lockdown may be imposed in the middle of the month, with one stating that it will take place no earlier than Mar 17. 

But they all said the stock market will be not be closed.

Authorities are said to be wrestling with the idea of how to test 7.4 million people three times in a short period of time, and ensure its efficacy by not allowing them to gather while it is being carried out.


But reports say what is being contemplated is not a "full lockdown" as in the Mainland when people are not allowed to leave their homes at all. It will be more like a Western-style lockdown where people can go out to buy food and other necessities or attend medical consultations.

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