HONG KONG: Hong Kong reported 73 new coronavirus cases yesterday, including 66 that were locally transmitted, as new restrictions took effect and the authorities warned there was no indication the situation was coming under control.
The global financial hub reported more than 100 cases on Sunday, a record number as Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced that non-essential civil servants must work from home.
Health experts are calling for tougher measures, with at least one pressing the government for a partial lockdown.
A Hong Kong microbiology expert, Professor Yuen Kwok Yung, warned in a local radio programme yesterday that the city might have to go into partial lockdown if cases continue to surge for the next one to two weeks.
“We might possibly need to lock down, not a lockdown of the whole city, but… close to a lockdown,” Prof Yuen said.
The current outbreak could be due to the failure of the border controls including quarantine exemptions, he said, adding that numbers rose after Father’s Day on June 21 when social distancing restrictions were relaxed.
Meanwhile, China reported 22 new coronavirus cases for Sunday, up from 16 a day earlier, the health commission said.
Of the new infections, 17 were in the far western region of Xinjiang, according to the National Health Commission. The other five were imported cases.
As of Sunday, China had 83,682 confirmed cases, the health authority said. The death toll remained at 4,634.
In Japan, broadcaster NHK said more than 500 new cases were reported nationally on Sunday, of which 188 were in Tokyo – down by about 100 from the previous day.
Surveys by various news outlets show most people are against government plans to kick-start domestic tourism with a subsidised campaign as fears grow over the number of new cases, particularly in Tokyo.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s US$16 billion (S$22 billion) Go To campaign is set to begin tomorrow.
An Asahi newspaper survey found 74 per cent of respondents were opposed to the campaign.
Nikkei’s poll showed some 80 per cent of respondents said it was too early to launch such a programme. – REUTERS, THE STRAITS TIMES