Coronavirus: far fewer residents gather at scenic spots across HK on second day of Easter holiday

14-Apr-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

But the city’s No 2 official, Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung, cautioned the public against taking the recent dip in numbers as a sign the outbreak was receding. On Friday thousands of people headed to beaches, the countryside and shopping malls. Cheung urged people to remain in their residences but conceded that could be challenging during what in normal times is a festive weekend.

“The scenes of people flocking out have made me very worried,” he told a radio programme. “I appeal to the public to show restraint and stay home for the remaining three-day holiday, although I know that’s difficult.”

He expressed concern that people were going out without masks. “Don’t loosen our guard just because we saw the epidemic situation has eased in the recent days. It could reverse in a very short time,” he warned, adding the outbreak was “still severe”.

The scene at Repulse Bay Beach was a far cry from Friday, when about a thousand people packed the shoreline. Just a few dozen people were lounging on the sand, a handful of swimmers in the distance and most groups keeping physical space between them. Nearly everyone had donned a mask.

Jonathan Lerivray was there with his wife and two children. Lerivray, who worked in the financial technology industry, generally agreed with the government’s advice but said it was more important people who ventured outside maintained social distance.

“We did decide to come today because the weather was not great and we knew there would be less people,” the 35-year-old said. “Still if it was packed, we would have hesitated because we have been influenced by the number of cases locally at least in general going down, and most of the new ones are from overseas. That does bring a sense of safety but not complacency.”

The shopping heart of Causeway Bay, however, was bustling, especially around the SOGO shopping mall, one of the biggest draws for visitors normally.

In Tsim Sha Tsui, the famed Victoria Harbour skyline was shrouded in a faint haze with thinned out crowds of no more than a dozen people spacing themselves apart as they walked, jogged or sat admiring the view.

Retail worker Ferris Chou, who was out with his girlfriend, said he accepted the government’s advice but felt observing precautions while in public was sufficient.

“For the government, they should be worried and should be taking cautions and it’s sensible for them to say we should stay at home most of the time. I can understand the pressure they are under. They must be saying this to keep everyone off the streets.

But the 29-year-old said he expected the outbreak to worsen, and authorities would have to enforce stricter social rules on weekends and public holidays.

“The measures so far are working because Hongkongers are sensible and sensitive,” Chou said, pointing to the general use of masks.

In Tsim Sha Tsui, the K11 Musea was less packed than on Friday. Some parents and children wore masks as they enjoyed a display of giant Easter egg sculptures. Fewer people who also taking public transport.

The government has shut down much of the city’s social life in recent weeks, with cinemas, gyms and bars closed. Restaurants have so far remained open but must only have half their seats in use and limit the number of patrons to four.


Category: Hong Kong

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