Hong Kong recorded 133 new coronavirus infections on Saturday – another daily record. The city also saw two more deaths, bringing the total toll to 18.
At a regular press briefing, the Centre for Health Protection’s Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan said that 71 of the cases were linked to previous transmissions and 7 were imported.
On Saturday, a 60-year-old male with heart disease and Covid-19 died at Yau Ma Tei’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, whilst an 84-year-old man died at Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital in Chai Wan.
A surge of infections has been seen at elderly homes, bringing the city’s total number of cases to 2,505. And students are undergoing testing at a University of Hong Kong hall of residence after a student was confirmed to be positive for Covid-19.
Leisure and Cultural Services Department staff conducted patrols at beaches on Saturday, issuing 1,500 verbal warnings. Police were also seen patrolling beaches and transport interchanges.
The department warned Hongkongers to remain at home: “Do not go swimming or sunbathing at closed beaches to prevent crowds from gathering and reduce the chances of spreading the virus in the community,” a press statement read.
In a Saturday Facebook post, Chief Executive Carrie Lam hit out at “fake news” about city-wide lockdown plans, saying there were still options for extending social distancing. “The emergence of a large number of clusters at the same time, and the diverse background of confirmed cases, makes the work of tracing close contacts and cutting transmission chains very difficult,” she wrote, according to RTHK.
One of the city’s top health experts, Gabriel Leung, has said that the government’s list of exemptions from mandatory quarantine may be to blame for the third wave of infections.
First detected in Hubei, China, almost 20 million people globally have been infected with Covid-19, whilst over 731,000 have died from the SARS-like disease according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.