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Hong Kong reports 85 COVID-19 cases as authorities battle third wave

Hong Kong reports 85 COVID-19 cases as authorities battle third wave

A woman pushes a trolley down an alleyway in Hong Kong on Aug 2, 2020. (Photo: ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong reported 85 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday (Aug 5), including three that were locally transmitted, as authorities battle to control a third wave of the outbreak that has seen a resurgence in infections over the past month.

In addition, an 86-year-old man confirmed to have COVID-19 died at Tuen Mun Hospital on Wednesday, Hong Kong's Hospital Authority said in a statement.

Since late January, around 3,700 people have been infected in Hong Kong, 43 of whom have died. Wednesday's figure was up marginally from Tuesday's 80 cases.

The city saw a surge in locally transmitted COVID-19 cases in July and introduced a raft of tightening measures, including restricting gatherings to two people, mandating face masks in all outdoor public spaces and banning in-house dining after 6pm until at least Aug 11.

A ban on face-to-face teaching at local schools has also been extended beyond Aug 17, with the academic year now due to start with online classes.

READ: COVID-19: Hong Kong backtracks on restaurant dining ban, to allow with restrictions

Chinese health officials started arriving in Hong Kong over the weekend, as part of a team that will carry out widespread COVID-19 testing in the territory.

This marks the first time mainland health officials have assisted Hong Kong in its battle to control the epidemic.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam had said that the city asked for help from the central government due to the resurgence in cases.

She said the government was studying whether everyone in Hong Kong could be tested, local broadcaster RTHK reported on Saturday.

READ: China sends team to Hong Kong to do widespread COVID-19 testing

Lam last week postponed the election for the Legislative Council, or Legco, citing public health dangers.

The poll would have been the former British colony's first official vote since Beijing imposed a sweeping security law to tackle what China broadly defines as secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces, with punishment of up to life in prison.

Electoral rules in Hong Kong only allow votes to be postponed for 14 days, but colonial-era laws give the government broad powers in case of threats to public safety.

In a statement on Sunday, the Hong Kong Bar Association said the electoral law was more recent and more specific when it comes to public health hazards at election time and "generally" should take precedence over older legislation.

Invoking emergency legislation to delay the scheduled vote "may turn out to be unlawful", it said.

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Source: Reuters/dv

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