Hong Kong saw a record high of 113 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, more than half of unknown origin, as the government unveiled a range of stepped-up measures to battle the worsening spread of the pandemic.
Among the new requirements, Hong Kong residents returning from the United States and Kazakhstan will be required to quarantine in hotels rather than at home, and present proof they are free of the virus before boarding flights back to the city. The public will also be required to wear masks in indoor public venues starting on Thursday.
“We do not rule out any further stringent measures, which basically would focus on social distancing,” said Secretary for Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee. “Whether there will be a lockdown depends on the entire situation. We are looking at some of the international practices. We also have to balance people’s basic daily needs in Hong Kong.”
The latest figure topped the previous daily record set on Sunday when 108 cases were confirmed.
Eight cases were imported, involving three domestic workers from the Philippines, two people from the US, a seafarer from the Philippines and aircrew members arriving from India and Kazakhstan.
Chan said that travellers from the US and Kazakhstan were classified under a group of “high-risk” countries where the risk of infection was severe enough that quarantine at hotels and pre-boarding health certificates, valid for 72 hours before boarding, were necessary.
Passengers will also be required to present proof they have booked a hotel for at least two weeks before being allowed to enter the city. Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa were already on the list.