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People to urged stay home as HK tries to contain new Covid-19 wave

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Chief Executive Lam tells residents to stay at home; safety measures tightened

HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam yesterday urged residents of the densely populated city to stay at home and avoid unnecessary family gatherings as the global financial hub scrambles to contain a new rise in Covid-19 cases.

Ms Lam was speaking at her weekly press conference a day after the government announced tighter curbs which will see group gatherings restricted to two people and most civil servants working from home.

"The new wave of the epidemic is very severe and every citizen has to strictly uphold discipline. The upcoming two weeks is very critical," Ms Lam said. "Please stay at home, especially the elderly, and also avoid social gatherings."

The worsening situation in Hong Kong also prompted the government yesterday to extend the postponement of an air-travel bubble with Singapore to beyond 2020.

Hong Kong reported 82 new cases yesterday, bringing the total in the city of 7.4 million people to 6,397 since the epidemic started, with 109 deaths.

Meanwhile, both Vietnam and Thailand, which have had no community transmissions for some time, saw new cases yesterday.

Thai authorities urged calm as they scrambled to trace a potential coronavirus outbreak after at least four women tested positive on returning from Myanmar.

Since detecting the first case in January, Thailand has managed to keep infections low, at just over 4,000 cases, in part by imposing strict entry rules.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said so far more than 100 people who may have been in contact with the women have been tested, and officials are tracking down more.

Vietnam reported two more coronavirus cases yesterday linked to a rare domestic infection in Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam confirmed on Monday its first community infection in 89 days. The latest cases have been traced back to a flight attendant, who is in a quarantine facility.

"The flight attendant contracted the virus inside the quarantine area then spread it to others during his home-quarantine time," health minister Nguyen Thanh Long said. - REUTERS, AFP