Updated Jan 23, 2021 - Health

Hong Kong puts tens of thousands on lockdown as coronavirus cases surge

Photo of two health care workers in hazmat suits walking around a neighborhood in Hong Kong

Hong Kong health workers patrol a street where COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. Photo: Anthony Kwan via Getty Images

Hong Kong has placed tens of thousands of residents on lockdown to contain a new coronavirus outbreak.

Why it matters: It’s the first time Hong Kong has imposed a lockdown since the pandemic began. The restrictions are expected to last 48 hours.

By the numbers: Hong Kong has recorded more than 10,000 total COVID-19 cases and 168 confirmed deaths, per data from Johns Hopkins University.

  • The South China Morning Post said the restrictions cover up to 9,000 people, Al Jazeera reports.

The big picture: Hong Kong has been struggling to contain the virus for the last two months, and over half of the new cases in the past week are in the Yau Tsim Mong district, AP reports.

Details: Residents in designated mandatory testing areas within the Yau Tsim Mong district in Kowloon Peninsula are not allowed to leave unless they provide negative coronavirus test results.

  • Residents with medical health needs are exempt.
  • Failure to comply will result in fines or greater penalty.
  • "Local media reported that anyone who had been to the restricted area for more than two hours in the past two weeks must also get tested by the end of Saturday," The Guardian writes.
  • "The government will seriously follow up on the compliance of compulsory testing notices by persons subject to compulsory testing, and continually review the compulsory testing arrangement of the above specified areas taking into account the epidemic development," a Food and Health Bureau spokesperson said in a press release.
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