The Hong Kong government has said that – as of 7pm Sunday – 918 people have been asked to comply with compulsory quarantine measures after returning from the mainland. The new coronavirus quarantine rules were enacted on Saturday.
The virus, originating in Wuhan, China, has spread globally causing more than 37,000 infections and over 800 deaths. Locally, there have been 36 confirmed cases as of Monday, including one death.
The Hong Kong government has been requiring people who were in close contact with confirmed cases to enter quarantine. Under a new measure, the Department of Health is also issuing “self-quarantine” orders to all people entering Hong Kong from the mainland. They are being told to stay at home, or in other accommodation, for 14 days.
Of those issued quarantine orders over the weekend, there were 814 Hong Kong residents and 104 non-residents. Twelve of them are having to stay in temporary accommodation provided by the government.
A government spokesman said the authorities will ensure that the people under compulsory quarantine will stay at home by conducting spot checks and telephone calls: “Most of the people under compulsory quarantine took their initiative to co-operate with the working staff to confirm that they are staying at their dwelling places through the real-time location sharing function of mobile phone communication applications,” it said.
However, local newspaper Ming Pao reported that a Hong Kong man – who was issued a quarantine order – said he would not follow the policy and would continue to go to work. The man took a bus from Shenzhen Bay to Mong Kok and shopped around for a while instead of going home, the newspaper reported.
A couple, who came back to Hong Kong from Shenzhen Bay, also went shopping for food before going home directly, according to the newspaper.
The government said that, since the new measure was implemented, cross-boundary passenger flow has dropped substantially. The total number of arrivals was 23,399 on Saturday – mostly Hong Kong residents returning from overseas, as well as international visitors arriving by air. The figures represent a drop of 76 per cent compared to Friday.
As at 7pm on Sunday, the number of arrivals via the airport was 14,763, those entering via the Shenzhen Bay control point totalled 270, and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge saw 810 arrivals.
“The smooth implementation of compulsory quarantine and the substantially reduced cross-boundary passenger flow can help reduce the risk of transmission and spread of the disease in the community,” a government spokesman said.