HONG KONG (AP) – Hong Kong will postpone the election of its next leader until May 8, as the city struggles with an exacerbated coronavirus outbreak with thousands of new infections daily.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Friday that the election would be moved six weeks from March 27, noting that holding the ballots as originally planned would pose “public health risks” even though a committee of only 1,462 voters is involved.
So far, only one candidate – businessman and filmmaker Checkley Sin – has confirmed his intention to run. It is not clear whether Lam will run for re-election.
Lam also said there were plans to test the entire city of Hong Kong for COVID-19, but denied that the city would be put under strict closure.
“Mandatory testing and a complete city lock may not have to go hand in hand. It depends on the actual situation,” she said. test of all, but test several times. “
She cited as an example Macao, which has tested its entire population twice for the virus.
Health officials said Thursday that the city’s hospitals had a 90% capacity and that its isolation facilities were full. Hong Kong’s daily new cases exceeded 2,000 for the first time on Monday. On Thursday, 6,116 new cases were reported.
Hong Kong has endorsed China’s strict “zero-COVID” policy, which involves quarantining incoming travelers, total shutdown, extensive contact tracking and mass testing of millions of people.
Lam has stuck to the same strategy despite the city’s greater population density, higher incomes and more service-oriented economy than in mainland China. Last week, the entire exclusive Discovery Bay district of Hong Kong was ordered to undergo testing after authorities found traces of the virus in its wastewater.
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