Hong Kong is experiencing a 'third ripple' amid the first global wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Following a disastrous few weeks in containing coronavirus infections, the Hong Kong government has now extended the expiry date of mandatory quarantine for overseas arrivals into the city until December 31.
The amendment is part of a raft of measures published this week as the city attempts to gain control over a recent surge in cases. They cover mask wearing, border controls, social distancing in food and beverage outlets and quarantine arrangements.
Mandatory quarantine on arrival into Hong Kong has been in place since March and was due for review on September 18, but under this latest round of legislative amendments, that date has been extended to December 31.
The government has also drawn up a list of ‘high risk places’ and travellers from these areas must carry out the territory’s mandatory 14 day quarantine period in a hotel rather than at home. On landing in Hong Kong, travellers will be expected to provide a negative Covid-19 health certificate as well as confirmation of a hotel room reservation in the city for 14 days, starting on the day of arrival.
These measures will be introduced for travellers from high risk countries including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and South Africa on July 25 and for travellers from the US and Kazakhstan on July 29. Anyone who fails to comply will be liable to a HK$10,000 fine and six months imprisonment.
Residents are being urged to stay at home and refrain from social activities as authorities battle to contain the upsurge in infections. From July 23, Hong Kongers must wear face masks in all indoor public places and on public transport (including at bus interchanges) or face a fine of HK$5,000. These measures will be reassessed on August 5.
“The detection of quite a number of local cases with unknown sources of infection over a short period of time raises an important alarm, reminding the community that members of the public must not let down their guard in terms of epidemic prevention and control,” said a spokesperson for the Food and Health Bureau.
According to the government, the development of the epidemic will be closely monitored and measures will be reviewed from time to time.