Hong Kong to Quarantine Travelers Coming From Mainland China

(Bloomberg) --

Hong Kong’s leader said the city will quarantine people arriving from mainland China, including Hong Kong residents and visitors entering via its international airport, as authorities step up efforts to halt the spreading coronavirus outbreak.

The quarantine requirement will go into effect on Feb. 8 at midnight, Chief Executive Carrie Lam said at a briefing Wednesday, saying the situation was now “worrying” and the virus was spreading among residents who hadn’t recently traveled to China. Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said she believes there could be even more locally infected cases.

Lam said the city would implement a system of smart wristbands to monitor those meant to stay quarantined at home, but didn’t provide further details on enforcement.

“The next 14 days are very critical,” Lam said. “We have to prevent the virus from spreading in the community.”

Hong Kong to Quarantine Travelers Coming From Mainland China

New Measures

Lam announced a HK$10 billion ($1.3 billion) fund for those affected by the city’s virus control measures. She also said the city would close the large Kai Tak cruise terminal in Victoria Harbor, as crew members and passengers on a cruise ship remained under quarantine and were undergoing health checks.

The new measures come a day after the former British colony saw its first death from the deadly virus, believed to have originated in the mainland Chinese city of Wuhan.

Lam has already shut some border crossings with the mainland -- but stopped short of a full closure -- as the city struggles to battle the outbreak and avoid the type of health and economic impact seen when SARS broke out in 2003.

The financial hub is already been reeling from more than seven months of often-violent pro-democracy protests originally kickstarted by a since-scrapped bill that would have allowed extraditions to the mainland.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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