Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Friday defended a sudden coronavirus lockdown imposed overnight on a North Point building as “necessary” even after the 12-hour operation detected zero cases.

The sudden lockdown of blocks A, B, C, and D of Tung Fat Building was officially lifted at 11.30am on Friday. Around 475 residents were tested, but 190 households did not respond when officials notified them to take a test.

north point
North Point lockdown. Photo: Benjamin Yuen/United Social Press.

Lam said in a Facebook post the lockdown was “necessary” despite the lack of infections.

“Considering the number of cases [in Hong Kong], the condition of the buildings and the capability to carry out the operation, we think that the restriction was still necessary,” she said.

Lam said the exercise showed that lockdowns should be “quicker and more accurate” in order to minimise inconvenience to residents.

The government fined 15 people HK$5,000 each for failing to take a test. A restaurant which was fined said in a Facebook protest that no officials had registered the workers there for testing even though they waited for an entire night.

Residents of four more buildings were ordered to take tests as Hong Kong recorded 50 coronavirus infections on Friday. Of these 48 were locally transmitted and 16 of these had unknown origins.

Anyone who had stayed for more than two hours in Lai On Estate in Sham Shui Po, Wing Tak Building in Yau Ma Tei, no. 31 Winslow Street in Hung Hom and Lok Ka House in the same district must take a test.

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Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.