HK’s Lam reiterates zero tolerance for quarantine breaches

Hong Kong, March 31 (IANS) Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Tuesday reiterated zero tolerance against breaching mandatory quarantine orders on inbound travellers, urging members of the public for self-discipline and cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Addressing a press conference, Lam said that Hong Kong has witnessed a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases over the past week, from about 300 infections seven days ago to more than 600 on Monday, mostly involving the city's residents returning form overseas, reports Xinhua news agency.


The large number of additional imported cases have put the tens of thousands of people taking part in Hong Kong's anti-pandemic work under greater stress, she said.

Since the compulsory quarantine arrangements for persons arriving in Hong Kong from overseas took effect on March 19, the city government's Department of Health has issued quarantine orders to 50,000 persons, and more than 70 persons were found to be breaching the restrictions, according to Lam.

Reiterating the Hong Kong government's zero tolerance of breaches, Lam said those contravening home quarantine orders will be sent to quarantine centres and may face prosecution.

The magistrates' courts in Hong Kong ruled on three cases of breaches of quarantine orders on Monday.

The three offenders were all sentenced to immediate imprisonment with the longest term being three months.

On the implementation since last weekend of measures prohibiting group gatherings with more than four people in public places, limiting restaurant services and temporarily closing entertainment premises, Lam said staff of relevant departments have inspected more than 5,000 catering or entertainment premises and made about 400 verbal warnings.

The Hong Kong government will continue with the inspection in the coming days, Lam said, calling on members of the public to be self-disciplined and abide by the law.

Hong Kong has reported a total of 682 confirmed cases with four deaths.