Hong Kong, Jan 23 (efe-epa).- Hong Kong authorities on Saturday locked down the two most densely populated districts on the Kowloon Peninsula to contain the outbreak of the coronavirus in the city.
The measure that has confined thousands in their homes is the strictest anti-pandemic order against the Covid-19 in the semi-autonomous city.
It is the first time that the government has confined its residents since the pandemic broke out last year.
The authorities took the measure after an increase in the number of infections over the past four days, with 145 positive cases in the now locked down neighborhoods of Yau Ma Tei and Jordan.
The government announced the move early on Saturday.
The government said it intended to carry out nucleic acid tests on the residents of the confined areas and ordered them to remain home until the results are known.
The confinement will last for at least 48 hours and affects around 10,000 residents of the area, which is home to many old buildings and cubbyhole flats as well as poor and elderly residents in the financial city.
“Persons subject to compulsory testing are required to stay in their premises until all such persons identified in the area have undergone testing and the test results are mostly ascertained,” the government said in a statement.
No one, except essential workers such as medics and employees of elderly homes, can access the locked-down area.
The residents cannot leave the area even as they can still move around if they test negative.
The authorities have deployed some 3,000 personnel to implement the lockdown.
The government will provide food and cleaning tools to the affected residents.
Anyone found to have the virus will be sent to a hospital for isolation, and their close contacts will be quarantined.
Hong Kong was one of the first places in the world to be hit by the coronavirus after it emerged in Wuhan in central China in early 2020.
The semi-autonomous Chinese city has kept infections under 10,000 with fewer than 170 deaths. EFE-EPA