Hong Kong residents expressed growing frustration yesterday after new, tighter coronavirus restrictions went into effect, imposed by city leaders in line with Beijing’s zero-COVID policy.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam ordered new strict measures to take effect as the highly-contagious omicron variant of the virus causes record daily cases.
That includes limiting public gatherings to two people and private ones to members of only two households. Places of worship, hair salons and other businesses were ordered to close.
Such measures are part of Hong Kong’s effort to align itself with mainland China’s “zero-COVID” policy, which aims to totally stamp out outbreaks, even as infection numbers continue to rise and other countries shift their approach to living with the virus.
Newly confirmed cases fell slightly yesterday to under 1,000 after hitting a daily record 1,161 on Wednesday, Hong Kong health authorities reported. Overall, Hong Kong has seen only about 18,500 cases of COVID-19 and 215 deaths among its population of some 7.5 million.
Opponents of the zero-COVID approach contend that with nearly 65% of the population fully vaccinated and signs the omicron variant of the virus is less severe for those with some immunity, that it is time to change course.