Coronavirus: HK to quarantine all arrivals from three Italian regions and Iran, issues ‘red’ travel alert

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

Hong Kong authorities have strengthened quarantine measures on travellers from three Italian regions and Iran and issued a “red” outbound travel alert for the four places after a surge in Covid-19 cases.

From midnight on Sunday, everyone arriving in the city, including Hong Kong residents, will be sent to quarantine centres for two weeks if they have visited Iran or the regions of Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto in northern Italy in the past 14 days.

The red alert the second level of a three-tier system that calls for tourists to adjust travel plans and avoid non-essential travel because of a “significant threat” for the Italian regions was issued on Friday, while an earlier one for Iran, sent out over safety concerns, was updated to include the coronavirus outbreak.

“In view of the persistent and rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in Emilia-Romagna, Lombardy and Veneto regions in Italy, which cover Bologna, Milan, Venice and Verona, the government has decided to issue the red OTA on the three regions based on public health considerations,” a government statement said.

The statement also urged Hongkongers to wear a surgical mask at all times, pay attention to local government announcements, avoid health care facilities and crowded places and to avoid contact with sick people if they had to visit those places.

In Italy, coronavirus cases surged by 50 per cent over the past 24 hours and there were about 650 confirmed infections, including 17 deaths. More than 400 of those were in Lombardy, where some towns have been placed under a lockdown.

Iran has 388 confirmed patients and 34 deaths. Globally, there have been more than 83,000 cases of Covid-19, mostly in mainland China and South Korea, which had more than 78,000 and 2,300 cases respectively.

The Hong Kong government had also issued a red outbound travel alert for South Korea on Monday, as well as barring entry to the city for non-Hong Kong residents travelling from South Korea.

In 2019, 98,761 people travelled to Hong Kong from Italy, while 1,678 arrived in the city from Iran. There were daily flights from Milan and Rome until the Italian aviation authorities ordered a ban on ones from Hong Kong on January 31. Direct flights on Cathay Pacific are now suspended until March 28.

Meanwhile, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department announced it will reopen some outdoor venues including tennis courts, bowling greens and running tracks in sports grounds next Tuesday.

It will also reopen the Ngau Chi Wan Park Archery Range; Shek O Obstacle Golf Course; and the archery range, golf driving range and practice greens at Tuen Mun Recreation and Sports Centre.

Self-service libraries at Island East Sports Centre Sitting-out Area, the Hong Kong Cultural Centre and Tsuen Nam Road, Tai Wai will also be reopened. However, measures to ensure social distancing will be in place such as limiting the number of users, closing spectator stands and providing disinfecting facilities.

Other sports centres, sports grounds other than the running tracks, public swimming pools and beaches along with performance centres, museums and public libraries will remain closed.


Category: Hong Kong

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