Ho Pak-leung sees urgency for lockdown-like measuresLocal | 25 Mar 2020 11:55 am
The head of the University of Hong Kong's Centre For Infection has warned that the city must introduce a basket of measures to force people to keep their distance from each other – and by this weekend – or the public health system could collapse, RTHK reports.
Dr Ho Pak-leung said unless Hong Kong takes "lockdown-style" steps to limit the transmission of the new coronavirus in the city, there will be "serious consequences" and the government must abandon its "piecemeal" approach.
Speaking on a radio program, Ho said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has increased tenfold in the past two weeks and there are more and more infections without a known source of transmission.
Stopping people from gathering is the most important step to take, he said, and Hong Kong should follow the examples of Germany and the UK in limiting the number of people who can meet up and in what circumstances.
The microbiologist said there should also be new law enforcement measures to make sure people stay apart.
He said that more than 10,000 doctors and nurses overseas have been infected with the virus and at least 40 doctors have died.
Ho added that Hong Kong should not make the same mistakes some foreign countries have made and he is worried that the city will soon see a repeat of the 2003 Sars crisis.
The SAR currently requires people arriving in the city to quarantine themselves for 14 days, schools and government-run leisure facilities are closed, and some civil servants are working from home. But shops, restaurants and bars are still open and there are no restrictions on people gathering.
Hong Kong has so far confirmed 386 coronavirus infections. Four people have died.