Hong Kong announces quarantines for mainland China arrivals

Hong Kong announced Wednesday a mandatory two-week quarantine for all travellers from mainland China, in a bid to stop more cases of the deadly new coronavirus.

The quarantine order, which will come into force on Saturday, will apply to Hong Kong residents and foreigners, chief executive Carrie Lam told reporters.

Lam gave few other details about how the quarantine would be implemented, such as where and how arrivals would be isolated, but said it was designed to stop them coming.

"The measure is harsh. But I believe after we say all arrivals have to be quarantined for 14 days from February 8 the number of arrivals will reduce," Lam said.

"Who would want to enter Hong Kong from the mainland and be quarantined for as long as 14 days? In view of this, we shouldn't have to deal with a large amount of arrivals who need to go through compulsory quarantine."

Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous southern Chinese territory, has 21 confirmed cases of the virus, one of whom died on Tuesday.

Over the last two weeks Lam has faced growing calls to close the border with China.

Lam's administration cut the number of land to just two, which reduced the flow significantly but failed to placate critics.

Lam had said closing the border would be impractical, economically damaging and discriminatory.

Immigration figures on Tuesday showed about 10,000 mainlanders used the border crossings and the international airport to enter Hong Kong.

Another 33,000 Hong Kong residents were also using the two remaining land crossings.

© 2020 AFP

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