In a press conference early Friday evening, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam urged residents to stay vigilant and announced further measures by the government to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Here are the highlights:
- The numbers: There are now 12 confirmed cases of the virus in Hong Kong, five of which are Hong Kong residents and seven are mainland Chinese residents, Lam said.
- School suspended: Primary and secondary schools were originally set to resume on February 17, but will now stay suspended until March 2. The government will re-evaluate at that point whether to resume classes, depending on the status of the outbreak.
- Stay at home: Lam urged students and employees of suspended businesses to stay home instead of using the free time to go outside -- the point of these suspensions is "social distancing," to diminish crowds and gatherings.
- Border crossings: Lam had announced travel restrictions and some border closings earlier this week. The number of arrivals from mainland China across different border points had dropped 91% since two weeks ago, she said today.
- Additional measures: Lam said the city government had adopted measures like early identification and close tracking of infected patients, but would continue adopting measures suggested by the World Health Organization, like selective screening at international borders.
- Travel warning: Lam urged Hong Kong residents not to visit the mainland, warning that "this will increase the risk of being infected."