Carrie Lam fends off criticisms against Jordan lockdown

Local | 23 Jan 2021 6:27 pm

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor has refuted criticisms over inconvenience for residents in Jordan placed under an unprecedented lockdown, saying the authorities had to impose the order out of public health concerns. 

Speaking after inspecting the “restricted area” to the press, Lam said her administration would learn from this experience if there’s a need to impose similar restrictions in other areas in the future. 

Around ten thousand people were affected in the lockdown, but some residents left in advance as news of the measures had leaked a day before. 

But Lam said it would be difficult for her colleagues to implement a “seamless” lockdown.

“If the residents knew the operation would only last 48 hours and the government would provide them food packs and a hotline, maybe they would be less anxious and would not have fled the area,” she said, “we need to study whether we should take action and make an announcement once the media had exposed the plan.”

But residents who left the area before the order took effect still had to comply with a mandatory test, she added.

The CE noted it is worrying that 90 percent of wastewater samples in the area had tested positive for coronavirus, and the region was dominated by aging buildings with hygiene problems such as damaged sewage pipes. 

Health authorities are targeting to complete tests for all residents in the designated zone with 48 hours so as to minimize the impact on citizens, and that the operation was different from “lockdowns” in the mainland, Lam stressed.

“A lockdown normally means you are not allowed to go out for a period. But in our case, this prohibition is about to the test… so once the compulsory testing is being completed, then the order will be lifted and people will be allowed to go out.” 

Asked to evaluate her performance in combating the pandemic in the past year, Lam said her administration has achieved “the best it could” to stem the outbreak. 

“They might not be precisely effective overnight. There is no best, only better,” she said. 

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