Health workers stand outside a building placed under lockdown at the Kwai Chung Estate public housing complex in Hong Kong on Jan 22, 2022, amid a rise in coronavirus cases fuelled by the Omicron variant. (LOUISE DELMOTTE / AFP)The government will lock down Kwai Chung Estate’s Ha Kwai House for five days, after 226 positive or preliminary-positive cases of the Omicron variant were detected in the New Territories public housing estate.
Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor made the announcement on Tuesday ahead of the weekly Executive Council meeting. Ha Kwai House is the third building in the estate to be locked down since Friday.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam said that among the 226 infected cases in Kwai Chung Estate, more than 210 were detected in Yat Kwai House, Ying Kwai House and Ha Kwai House, with more than 150 found in Yat Kwai House
In addition, the estate’s Yat Kwai House — the first building in the estate that was locked down — will see its lockdown period extended for another two days, until Friday, Lam said.
Lam said that among the 226 infected cases in Kwai Chung Estate, more than 210 were detected in Yat Kwai House, Ying Kwai House and Ha Kwai House, with more than 150 found in Yat Kwai House.
Asked if the lockdown order will be expanded to the other 13 blocks in the estate, Lam said that is currently unnecessary, given the concentration of the cases in the three worst-hit blocks and the negative impact such a massive lockdown would have on the estate’s 35,000 residents.
She said she understands the residents’ anxiety and the complaints about the inconvenience of living in lockdown, and expressed her appreciation for their cooperation. She added the government will improve the supportive services it is providing the residents.
The government has sent 1,800 employees to work at the estate, and will increase manpower to ensure services, including cleaning, meal delivery and garbage collection, for the affected residents.
The government has engaged contractors to set up 10 mobile coronavirus testing stations in the area, with a daily capacity of 30,000 tests. Lam said that will be sufficient to handle the situation, as the daily average number of tests administered there was around 19,000 in the past few days.
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