Hong Kong’s top officials have hailed Tuesday’s sudden overnight lockdown in the Yau Ma Tei district a success. The operation, conducted without prior notice, detected one new Covid-19 infection after testing 330 individuals.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam praised the operation in a Facebook post on Wednesday, saying the lockdown “only took 11 hours.”
“I want give thanks for the cooperation of residents in the restricted area, and also give a ‘like’ to around 380 colleagues from the Home Affairs Department, Yau Tsim Mong District Office, Sham Shui Po District Office, and the Hong Kong Police Force!” Lam wrote.
The city’s number two official Matthew Cheung also praised the sudden lockdown in comments to the Legislative Council on Wednesday: “The operation last night was successful. Despite the fact that only one case was established, I think it’s very important really to achieve zero cases. This is our objective.”
Cheung said the government will continue to deploy “ambush-style” lockdowns: “We will in future adopt more of this operation style. In other words, surprise, quick and targeted.”
The government’s sudden lockdown in districts known for subdivided dwellings has been criticised for disproportionately impacting the city’s ethnic minorities and lower-income residents. The first lockdown in the Jordan district over the weekend yielded 13 new infections after testing 7,000 residents.
Possible congee shop cluster
Meanwhile, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) warned of a possible emerging cluster at the Wing Ming congee shop in Hung Hom after six new cases were detected on Wednesday. The initial infection detected at the site came from an unknown source. Ten other members of staff have been sent to quarantine.
The CHP’s Head of Communicable Diseases Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan called on members of the public who have frequented the store to be tested as soon as possible.
Eight new infections were linked to Tung Fat Building in North Point. New compulsory testing notices will be implemented for nine buildings across the city, including estates in Tuen Mun, To Kwa Wan, and Quarry Bay.
The government also extended social distancing measures – which restrict group gatherings to two people and forbid eat-in at restaurants after 6 pm – until next Wednesday.
Aircrew staff who have visited “high risk” countries including the UK, South Africa, US, France and Canada since Saturday must undergo 21 days of hotel quarantine until further notice.
Hong Kong reported 60 new infections on Wednesday, with three more coronavirus-related deaths. 57 of the new infections were locally transmitted, 21 of which came from an untraceable source.
The city has reported a total of 10,283 cases and 176 deaths thus far.