China's Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) will ban the entry of all non-Hong Kong residents arriving from overseas by flights starting from Wednesday to prevent imported COVID-19 cases, HKSAR Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Monday.
For the 14 days since 12:00 a.m. local time on Wednesday, Hong Kong will deny the entry of all non-Hong Kong residents arriving from overseas by flights, as well as those who have been to overseas in the past 14 days and arriving in Hong Kong through the mainland, Macao SAR and the Taiwan region, Lam said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
During the period, transfer services at the Hong Kong International Airport will be suspended.
Hong Kong will maintain the compulsory quarantine arrangements on inbound travelers from the mainland. Meanwhile, all the travelers entering Hong Kong through Macao SAR and the Taiwan region, regardless of whether they are Hong Kong residents, will undergo the same 14-day compulsory quarantine, Lam said.
The measures, which come amid a remarkable increase of imported infections of the COVID-19 recently in Hong Kong, aim to prevent more imported cases and to block the chain of transmission of the virus, said the chief executive.
Lam said the government will also amend the law to forbid liquor license holders to sell alcohol, involving around 8,600 bars, restaurants and clubs.
This measure aims to reduce social contacts and gathering, as consumers in the bars are exposed to high risk of infections, and some confirmed COVID-19 patients have been to bars and weddings, she said.
Last week, Lam announced to shut some government-run public services including museums, libraries and wetland parks from Monday in a bid to reduce social contacts. As for some private recreation clubs which provide playgrounds, dressing rooms and other recreation facilities, Lam appealed to them to shut down these facilities as well at the press conference.
Lam urged all people under compulsory quarantine to follow the quarantine order. She noted that the police had inspected five people who left their dwellings without permission earlier, and 36 more who broke quarantine order in recent days.
Lam thanked medical workers for their efforts for the past two months to prevent the disease from spreading. "For those who break the quarantine order that may result in community transmission, do you think your action is worth those frontline workers' efforts?" Lam asked.
Lam again appealed to all members of the public to follow epidemic-prevention rules and orders. "As long as we stay united, Hong Kong will win the battle against the epidemic."
Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reported on Sunday afternoon 44 additional COVID-19 cases confirmed during the past 24 hours, taking the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong to 317.