In an official announcement, Hong Kong has extended the home confinement measures for another 14 days after it managed to plank the curve, Chief Executive Carrie Lam told the press conference. The decision comes after the city recorded zero new cases of the novel coronavirus as of April 20, for the first time since the outbreak.
All non-essential movement restrictions, including social distancing protocols, will reportedly remain in place, and public gathering of more than 4 people is still banned. Hong Kong imposed restrictions on March 29, which was later extended until April 23. It suspended all international air travel and immigration facilities at the airport and shuttered all public recreational premises, as per media reports. Hong Kong’s drastic response to the COVID-19 has been attributed to the city’s preparedness in tackling the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) epidemic.
Over 1,025 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Hong Kong, while the death toll stands at 4. Lam said while speaking at a weekly news conference that it was extremely difficult to balance the act for the city, referring to the ongoing economic turmoil. She added that it was necessary to opt for a safer approach to ensure that the efforts to flatten the curve, which Hong Kong achieved over the past months, did not go waste.
Additionally, Hong Kong’s Department of Health and Hospital Authority decided to not conduct the daily press briefings that they hold every day at 4:30 pm since late January since there were no fresh cases, confirmed media reports. The first coronavirus case in the city was detected on January 23, the same day China shut down Wuhan in Hubei province in the mainland. The cases reportedly began to soar in Hong Kong after citizens returned from abroad, mainly from the United Kingdom, the United States, and other European nations.