The Hong Kong Sports Institute (HKSI) will go into a 14-day lockdown starting on Wednesday, HKFP has learned, as the city battles a third wave of coronavirus infection.

Several athletes who train at the HKSI told HKFP on Monday that there will be a “closed door training camp” starting from July 22 to August 4 for the roughly 500 full-time sportsmen. Athletes will be allowed to leave the premises during the period, but they cannot return until the training camp is completed. Part-time athletes will not permitted to enter the facilities.

Hong Kong Sports Institute in Fo Tan. Photo: GovHK.

The training base for the city’s elite athletes located in Fo Tan had imposed a similar lockdown in March when the city recorded a spike in Covid-19 cases as overseas Hongkongers returned from hard-hit regions. Patients who were confirmed to have the virus that month included three Hong Kong karate athletes and two coaches who returned from France.

Hong Kong saw a daily record high of 108 coronavirus infections on Sunday which, together with 73 new cases on Monday, brought the city’s tally to 1,958 infections. The figure now surpasses the 1,755 cases of SARS seen during the 2003 epidemic.

Long jump athlete and Hong Kong record holder Tiffany Yue told HKFP that she thought the lockdown measure was necessary in light of the jump in recent untraceable cases. She said she would remain at the institute to prepare for coming year’s contests.

“Competitions around the world are either cancelled or postponed… I’d say the worst part is having no competitions, because [that] is where we know our hard work has paid off, even if it is just a small-scale local competition,” Yue said.

Photo: GovHK.

Responding to HKFP’s enquiries, HKSI Community Relations and Marketing Director Ron Lee did not directly confirm the latest lockdown. He said the institute has been preparing for different policies since the beginning of the epidemic. The HKSI has tightened and lifted its entry restrictions and other regulations as the outbreak grew and eased, Lee said.

“We have imposed a lockdown before and relaxed the restrictions before. Until today, we don’t have any new policy,” Lee said.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.