Amid coronavirus outbreak, Hong Kong reported its largest increase in infected cases on March 18, after a period of an apparent slowdown in infections. According to international media reports, for most of March, coronavirus cases were reported every day, but the number was comparatively less. However, on Wednesday the authorities reported 13 new cases, out of which majority had recent international travel history.
Currently, Hong Kong has 181 confirmed cases of coronavirus and the deadly virus has also claimed four lives in the region. While speaking to an international media outlet, Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection warned that a huge volume of travellers is expected to arrive in Hong Kong in coming days and especially as students abroad arrive home after university closure. The increase in the number of infected cases has raised an alarm that there may be a second wave of infections as travellers abroad may bring back many new infections which could lead to new clusters.
Hong Kong government has also reportedly announced that from March 19 all international arrivals will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days. In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, Hong Kong is also using electronic wristbands to monitor those under a 14-day quarantine. The wristbands and accompanying smartphone app will also alert authorities if travellers violate the quarantine.
Amid the unprecedented times, Chief Executive Carrie Lam also announced that the schools in Hong Kong will not resume classes in April as planned due to coronavirus. While speaking at a press briefing, Lam said that it is ‘not possible’ to resume all classes on April 20 in view of the current public health situation. Furthermore, she added that even if classes could resume after containment of the outbreak, schools could one reopen in phases.
Terming the conditions as a battle that needs to be fought with the deadly outbreak, Lam said this will be a prolonged battle. Residents need to be psychologically prepared that it will be hard for us to completely control the outbreak within a short time. When asked why a travel ban had not been imposed in Hong Kong, the Chief Executive said that the results would be "too drastic."