Hong Kong won't be locked down, Lam reiterates amid record daily infection high
Published: Mar 02, 2022 07:13 PM
Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), speaks at a press conference in Hong Kong, south China, Feb. 18, 2022.Photo:Xinhua

Carrie Lam, chief executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), speaks at a press conference in Hong Kong,  Feb. 18, 2022. Photo:Xinhua

Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Carrie Lam reiterated on Wednesday that Hong Kong will not have a citywide lockdown and the mass testing will take into account the local situation, refuting the circulating rumor that there will be a "full lockdown." 

The fifth wave of COVID-19 has been battering Hong Kong recently. According to local media, on Wednesday alone the city reported more than 50,000 new confirmed cases, a daily record.

Challenged by the outbreak, Lam stressed that measures to largely reduce the flow of people will be launched, including sealing off residential communities and the mandatory mass testing, but she noted that the strictness and scope of the measures need to be further evaluated.

As Hong Kong will soon launch citywide mandatory nucleic acid testing, some legislators from the city's largest pro-establishment party Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB) came up with some suggestions on how the "stay-at-home" policy should be carried out, including measures like limited mobility and allowing one member from each household to go shopping for food and daily necessities every day. 

Starry Lee Wai-king, the chairwoman of the DAB, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the "stay-at-home'' order will be different from a city lockdown. "I think a lot of Hong Kong people, if we are going to carry out a citywide mask testing, believe that we have to have an effective measure in order to make this citywide mass testing effective; otherwise, we cannot cut all the transmission," she said. 

Kennedy Wong Ying-ho, the newly elected lawmaker of a functional constituency and also from the DAB, echoed this view, adding that some restrictions are necessary to make the mass testing effective. However, compared with mainland's experiences, Wong told the Global Times during the press conference that "Hong Kong does not have the same mobilization capability." 

"We probably have to wait for the city government to come up with a plan on certain level of restriction on movement that would be appropriate and workable," he said. 

According to a recent survey conducted by the DAB online, about 90.5 percent of the respondents supported a stay-at-home order to coordinate with mass testing. And about 70.7 percent considered it should be a citywide order. 

The DAB suggested that some clinics and supermarkets should be allowed to be open under the "lockdown" while the government must make sure that they have enough manpower capacity to implement these measures.