Leader Carrie Lam said today that more than 500 infections have been confirmed in the past fortnight alone, nearly a third of 1,788 cases since the start of the epidemic.
“I think the situation is really critical and there is no indication that it is under control,” Lam told reporters.
Lam announced last week new social distancing measures, shutting down many businesses, including bars, gyms and nightclubs, and ordering everyone to wear masks on public transportation. Restaurants have been ordered to only offer take out services in the evening.
Other regulations were announced today, including plans to make masks mandatory inside any covered public place – and a new order for non-essential civil servants to work from home.
As hospital wards fill up, officials are also scrambling to build 2,000 more isolation rooms on barren land near the city’s Disneyland complex to monitor and treat those who test positive, she added.