Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam warned of a major COVID-19 outbreak in the city and urged residents to stay outside as new restrictions take effect in the city.
“We are on the brink of a large-scale community outbreak that could lead to the collapse of our hospital system and cost dearly, especially for the elderly,” Lam said in a statement released late Tuesday. according to Reuters.
“In order to protect our loved ones, our health care staff and Hong Kong, I am addressing you in strict accordance with the measures of social isolation and staying at home for as long as possible,”; she added.
Lam’s comments come when the city moves to implement new restrictions on coronavirus starting on Wednesday, including a ban on gathering more than two people and a ban on indoor dining at restaurants. Hong Kong has also implemented a mandate to wear face masks in public, as well as outdoors.
The restrictions have led to an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the last three weeks, with 106 new cases confirmed on Tuesday. 2,880 coronavirus infections and 23 deaths have been reported in Hong Kong since January, Reuters reports.
Indoor meals are prohibited as some semi-autonomous city restaurants free up their seats to move to more accessible locations and save on rent after the economic downturn caused by the pandemic, i. Reported by South China Morning Post.
Hong Kong has banned dinner after 6 p.m., but further restrictions are expected to encourage more entrepreneurs to follow suit on the move. The South China Morning Post reports that some 16,000 restaurants in the city are struggling financially after the city in March. Published the first restrictions.