Hong Kong authorities enforced an overnight lockdown to conduct compulsory Covid-19 tests among residents of two buildings in San Po Kong on Tuesday evening. The first “ambush-style” lockdown post-Lunar New Year yielded no new infections as of 2am on Wednesday after around 520 people were tested.

The surprise testing operation, which began at 8:30pm on Tuesday ended at 7am Wednesday morning. Residents who had been tested and can show an SMS or wristband were allowed to leave the area.

Photo: Food and Health Bureau.

Authorities visited 256 flats, of which 56 did not answer the door. The government said they are investigating any flats which did not open the door which may have had confirmed cases, or persons undergoing quarantine. Health officials had previously warned they may break down doors during lockdown operations.

Compulsory testing notices have been issued for persons who have visited the restricted area for at least two hours in the past two weeks. They must be tested before Thursday. The area includes Cambridge Building and Tong Seng Mansion on Kam Wing Street.

“The Government reiterates that enforcement actions will be taken seriously,” a statement on Wednesday morning read.

“Any person who fails to present an SMS notification with a negative test result or wear a wristband as proof of having undergone testing breaches the compulsory testing notice and may be liable to a fine of $5,000.”

San Po Kong. Photo: Michael Ho/StudioIncendo.

Meanwhile, persons who are found not to have followed the compulsory testing order or have evaded compulsory testing in the restricted area may be liable to a fine of up to HK$25,000 and six months imprisonment.

The latest lockdown marks the first raid-like compulsory testing operations imposed on local Hong Kong neighbourhoods after Chief Executive Carrie Lam promised no lockdowns over Lunar New Year. Authorities have conducted 27 lockdowns since late January.

The resumption of overnight lockdowns comes as the city’s fourth wave of infections eases. The city has reported 20 or less daily cases since February 12. Relaxed social distancing restrictions allowing group gatherings of up to four people began on Wednesday.

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