Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 and urged people to stay indoors as strict new measures to curb the disease’s spread took effect on Wednesday.
The new regulations, which will be in place for at least seven days, ban gatherings of more than two people, close dining in restaurants and make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places, including outdoors. Those who breach the rules face fines of up to 5,000 Hong Kong dollars.
The financial hub saw a spike in locally transmitted cases over the past three weeks. These are the toughest measures introduced in the city since the outbreak. The government has also tightened testing and quarantine arrangements for sea and air crew members.
Lam said, “We are on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak, which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly.”