HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale coronavirus outbreak and urged people to stay indoors as much as possible because of new measures regulations to curb the spread of the disease took effect on Wednesday.
The new regulations prohibit gatherings of more than two people, closed meals in restaurants and make it compulsory to wear a face mask in public places, including outdoors. These are the toughest measures introduced in the city since the outbreak.
The government also tightened testing and quarantine provisions for naval and air crew members, effective Wednesday.
“We are on the brink of a large-scale community epidemic, which could lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost the lives, especially for the elderly,” Lam said in a statement Tuesday evening.
“In order to protect our loved ones, our healthcare staff and Hong Kong, I urge you to strictly follow social distancing measures and stay at home as much as possible.”
The new measures, which will be in place for at least seven days, were announced on Monday after the world financial center saw a spike in locally transmitted cases in the past three weeks.
Hong Kong reported 106 new cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, 98 of which were transmitted locally. Since the end of January, more than 2,880 people have been infected in the former British colony, 23 of whom have died.
Report by Twinnie Siu and Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Christian Schmollinger
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