The Hong Kong government imposed a third “ambush-style” lockdown at a housing estate in Lam Tin on Sunday night, as two building blocks recorded 15 coronavirus infections in 12 days. Officials did not find any cases of the virus after more than 400 people were tested overnight.

Laguna City lockdown. Photo: StudioIncendo.

Blocks 5 and 7 of Laguna City were put under a coronavirus lockdown at 7pm on Sunday. Residents of the two buildings had to undergo a test before 2am on Monday, with the cordon set to be lifted at 7am.

Laguna City lockdown. Photo: StudioIncendo.

It was the third sudden coronavirus lockdown in a week after restrictions were imposed in Yau Ma Tei and North Point. It was the first lockdown imposed on a private housing estate.

Laguna City lockdown. Photo: StudioIncendo.

The two buildings were put under the compulsory testing order earlier last month, and around 1,200 residents had already been tested ahead of Sunday’s operation.

Laguna City lockdown. Photo: StudioIncendo.

According to the government, people who were tested since Friday would be exempt from taking the test again, but would have to remain in their homes until the overall results in the area were confirmed.

Laguna City lockdown. Photo: StudioIncendo.

“The government would like to thank the residents for their cooperation. However, to completely cut the transmission link in Laguna City, we think it is necessary to make a new (lockdown) declaration and (compulsory testing) order,” said a government spokesperson in a statement.

Laguna City lockdown. Photo: StudioIncendo.

Hong Kong recorded 53 coronavirus infections on Sunday, of which 44 were locally transmitted cases, and 17 infections had unknown origins. The city also recorded two more deaths – 181 people have died since the beginning of the pandemic.

Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung has said more lockdowns will take place. Along with Chief Executive Carrie Lam, he has defended the operations despite few cases of Covid-19 being uncovered.

Confidence in vaccines

With the first batch of coronavirus vaccines expected to arrive as early as late February, a survey conducted by the University of Hong Kong (HKU) showed that the willingness of Hong Kong citizens to be vaccinated had dropped significantly.

Laguna City lockdown. Photo: StudioIncendo.

According to an ongoing survey where the university asked over 1,000 people aged 18 or above in seven rounds of phone interviews, only 45.9 per cent of respondents said they were willing to take a coronavirus vaccine. It represents a considerable decrease from the 55 to 67 per cent recorded between June and November last year.

Laguna City lockdown. Photo: StudioIncendo.

HKU reported that respondents who chose not to be vaccinated were mainly worried about the side effects, safety, and efficacy of the vaccines.

Gabriel Leung (centre) at the press conference announcing the results from the survey on January 28. Photo: University of Hong Kong.

The Dean of the medicine faculty at HKU Gabriel Leung said that it was normal for citizens to be worried: “We have to use scientific information to give confidence to citizens for them to accept the vaccination programme,” said Leung.

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Candice Chau

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.