The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has made "restriction-testing declaration" and issued compulsory testing notice in respect of a local specified "restricted area" in a bid to cut COVID-19 spread.
Residents in the area, bounded by Woosung Street to its east, Nanking Street to its south, Battery Street to its west and Kansu Street to its north, are required to stay at home until all their test results are mostly ascertained, the HKSAR government said in a statement issued early Saturday morning.
The testing is expected to be completed within 48 hours so that residents will be able to start getting to work around 6:00 am next Monday.
Public health authorities had already stepped up testing efforts but the epidemic outbreak remained severe in the district as 162 confirmed COVID-19 cases, involving 56 buildings, were reported from Jan 1 to 20, 2021.
"The infection risk in the community is quite high," the government said in the statement, stressing that it is necessary for further restrictions there to "break the transmission chain in the district and dispel the worries of residents in the district."
Residents will be arranged to take nucleic acid tests in batches at specimen collection stations. Door-to-door services will be offered for people with impaired mobility and the elderly.
The government has prepared simple food and basic cleaning tools for the residents and set up hotlines for people to make inquiries and seek assistance.
Hong Kong is grappling with the epidemic with the total tally of infections nearing 10,000. On Friday, 61 additional confirmed cases were reported, taking the total to 9,928.