'Govt Looking At Steps To Restrict Gatherings'

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2020-03-25 HKT 16:56

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  • Lam Ching-choi told RTHK that the government could ban people from gathering at certain times of day. Photo: RTHK

    Lam Ching-choi told RTHK that the government could ban people from gathering at certain times of day. Photo: RTHK

The Hong Kong government is considering taking steps to restrict people from gathering in groups as the number of coronavirus cases continues to shoot up in the city, Executive Council member Lam Ching-choi said on Wednesday.

In an interview with RTHK, Lam said possible measures include limiting the number of people who can get together at any one time, or banning gatherings completely at certain times of day.

Lam, who is also a doctor, warned that Hong Kong is now in a critical period, and said the SAR government could, as an extreme step, impose a lockdown similar to those in place in the UK and US.

The government adviser also revealed that measures to alleviate the pressure on public hospitals are being planned, including setting up wards outside hospitals for some virus patients.

He said the city's existing quarantine camps could be used to house people with mild symptoms, as well as hospital patients who are recovering and those who only need to wait for final tests to confirm they have beaten the virus before they can be sent home.

Lam added that exhibition venues, including AsiaWorld-Expo which is currently being used as a temporary testing centre for people arriving in Hong Kong with symptoms of the virus, could also be a suitable location for new patient facilities.