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Sunday, February 28, 2021

‘Ambush lockdowns’: Hong Kong’s extreme Covid lockdown strategy

A recent viral video showed Hong Kong police officials sprinting up a street and using police tape to seal off a building and its occupants, with several of his colleagues close at his heels.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
February 3, 2021 3:55:08 pm
Government workers wearing personal protective equipment, stand guard as residents are stranded in a store at the closed area of Sham Shui Po district, in Hong Kong, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

The Hong Kong government has come under fire for imposing lockdowns in residential areas without any prior warning, in an attempt to contain the spread of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the “ambush-style” lockdowns, residents of neighbourhoods across the Chinese territory are being forcibly tested for Covid-19, the Guardian reported. If they fail to take the test, Hong Kong residents face a fine of HK$5,000 (over INR 47,000).

The government started facing backlash for its lockdown strategy after a recent viral video showed Hong Kong police officials sprinting up a street and using police tape to seal off a building and its occupants, with several of his colleagues close at his heels.

On Tuesday, the Hong Kong government said that authorities now had permission to break into people’s houses and remove them if they refuse to get tested. Despite growing criticism, the government has defended its extreme strategy.

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said that the “ambush lockdowns” were “not a waste of manpower and money but instead well worth”, AFP reported. Lam’s de facto deputy Matthew Cheung warned of wider and more frequent lockdown in the following weeks ad the city heads into the Lunar New Year holidays.

The lockdowns last a day or two, during which, residents are sent down to temporary Covid testing centres, the Guardian reported. The move comes just weeks after the government announced Hong Kong’s very first lockdown on January 23. Over 10,000 residents of Jordan, one of the most densely populated areas in the city, were impacted by the government-enforced quarantine.

Many have pointed out that despite the fact that daily coronavirus cases are decreasing, targeted lockdowns of residential areas appear to be increasing. But Lam says that the lockdowns are being imposed to prevent another wave of infections. “We can’t take the number of confirmed cases as the sole or decisive standard,” she told reporters on Tuesday.

“Efficacy does not only concern recovery rate, but also prevention of the disease,” she added.

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