Hong Kong to Extend Outbreak-Control Measures as Cases Surge

A person wearing a protective mask sits beside the closed Hong Kong Cultural Centre on New Year's Eve in Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. Since the start of December, public gatherings have been limited to two people and civil servants were ordered to work from home. The measures are similar to those in place in July, when the city battled its worst outbreak. Photographer: Roy Liu/Bloomberg
A person wearing a protective mask sits beside the closed Hong Kong Cultural Centre on New Year's Eve in Hong Kong, China, on Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020. Since the start of December, public gatherings have been limited to two people and civil servants were ordered to work from home. The measures are similar to those in place in July, when the city battled its worst outbreak. Photographer: Roy Liu/Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- Hong Kong will extend social-distancing measures, expand mandatory testing and introduce new restrictions in certain neighborhoods to battle an extended wave of coronavirus cases.

The moves come after the Asian financial hub reported 107 daily Covid-19 infections on Monday, the most in a month, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam told a weekly news briefing Tuesday.

“This shows that we still have transmission chains across the territory,” Lam said. “So what we need to do now is join hands and curb transmission as much as possible.”

Lam said the city would announce specific new virus-control measures at a health department briefing later Tuesday.

Virus Wave

Hong Kong has reverted to some of its strictest anti-coronavirus measures in months as the government attempts to tamp down the latest wave of Covid-19 cases. The now long-running restrictions have continued to weigh on Hong Kong’s economy, which has been battered by both the pandemic and landmark protests in 2019.

The city has seen virus clusters in a number of buildings in the dense Yau Ma Tei and Jordan neighborhoods of Kowloon. Lam said new measures and restrictions would be coming for those areas.

Lam said the higher number of reported cases Monday came from a renewed effort to test problematic areas, including by deploying mobile testing units, and did not represent a worsening of the pandemic in Hong Kong.

“Let me reassure the public not to panic,” Lam said. “We need to step up our efforts on testing.”