Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam (林鄭月娥) yesterday expressed concern over the latest COVID-19 outbreak in the territory, after a cluster of nine people in the same public housing building tested positive for the virus in the past few days, ending a streak of nearly two weeks without locally transmitted cases.
Hong Kong said that it would implement a two-week extension of social distancing measures, including a ban on public gatherings of more than eight people, to June 18.
The territory’s entry restrictions would also remain in place until Sept. 18 for foreign non-residents, with the exception of those who have stayed in Taiwan, mainland China and Macau for 14 days prior to their arrival in Hong Kong.
Residents of those places are also allowed into the territory if they have not traveled elsewhere prior to their arrival.
Lam also criticized the “double standards” of foreign governments regarding national security, pointing to the unrest in the US as an example of how attitudes differ when protests hit home.
“We have recently seen these kind of double standards most clearly with the riots in the United States,” Lam said. “We can see how local authorities have reacted, but then last year when we had similar riots in Hong Kong, what was their position?”
The US, the UK and some other Western democracies sharply criticized police crackdowns on anti-government protests in Hong Kong last year.
Lam pointed to more recent criticism of imminent national security legislation that many foreign politicians have characterized as Beijing eroding freedoms promised to Hong Kong.
“They take their own country’s national security very seriously, but for the security of our country, especially the situation in Hong Kong, they are looking at it through tinted glasses,” she said.
Lam is to lead a delegation of senior Hong Kong officials to Beijing today to present her views on the planned national security legislation to Chinese government officials, the Hong Kong government announced.
China’s National People’s Congress last week approved a decision to create national security laws for Hong Kong, aimed at curbing subversive and secessionist activity after the months-long pro-democracy movement last year that at times resulted in violent clashes between protesters and police.
In response to the proposed laws, Britain yesterday urged China to think again about trying to assert more control over Hong Kong.
“There is time for China to reconsider,” British Secretary of Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Dominic Raab said. “There is a moment for China to step back from the brink and respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and respect China’s own international obligations.”
Additional reporting AFP
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