Hong Kong’s government has declared its first lockdown in a bid to contain an ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus in one of the city’s poorest and most densely populated districts.
The lockdown, which affects about 10,000 residents in the Jordan neighbourhood in Kowloon, was announced with immediate effect on Saturday.
The announcement came after a full day of speculation after some details were leaked to the press, which officials did not comment on, leading to confusion and panic-buying in the area.
According to government statements, the “restricted area” will remain sealed off for 48 hours to allow for mandatory nucleic acid testing for the virus of all residents, which is expected to be completed by midnight on Saturday.
Residents will be barred from leaving the area until about 6am on Monday, but will be free to move around within it.
Only essential workers such as carers for the elderly and Hospital Authority staff will be allowed to enter the restricted zone.
About 3000 police, fire services and immigration officials were deployed to enforce the unprecedented lockdown, according to Secretary for Home Affairs Caspar Tsui.
Yau Tsim Mong District, which includes Jordan and Yau Ma Tei, has been the area most severely hit by Hong Kong’s ongoing fourth wave of coronavirus infections.