Hong Kong on ‘verge of large-scale community outbreak’, Carrie Lam warns

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam has warned that the city’s hospitals could face “collapse” as it grapples with a sharp rise in coronavirus cases.

In a statement she said the city was “verge of a large-scale community outbreak, which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly”.

She called on residents to adhere “strictly to social distancing measures and stay at home as far as possible”.

Hong Kong – which had early success against Covid-19 – is now regularly reporting over 100 new daily cases.

A record 145 cases were recorded on Monday and 106 coronavirus cases on Tuesday.

Less than a month ago, the average number of new daily cases was under 10.

From Wednesday, dining in restaurants is banned, and only two people from different households can meet, under the toughest rules Hong Kong has adopted so far.

It’s also now compulsory for face masks to be worn in all public places.

It was earlier announced that spaces like bars, gyms and beauty parlours would be closed.

At the start of the month, public gatherings of up to 50 people were allowed – but that was reduced to four, and now two.

The elections to Hong Kong’s parliament are set to be held on 6 September, but with the new restrictions there are reports of the elections being postponed by a year.