North Point building on ‘ambush-style’ lockdown

  • 2021-01-28 HKT 21:29″ title=”Police officers descend on Kam Ping Street in North Point to enforce the lockdown. Photo: RTHK”>

    Police officers descend on Kam Ping Street in North Point to enforce the lockdown. Photo: RTHK
    Police officers descend on Kam Ping Street in North Point to enforce the lockdown. Photo: RTHK

A residential building at the centre of a coronavirus outbreak was put on lockdown on Thursday evening, the second such “ambush-style” operation by the government this week.

Tung Fat Building on Kam Ping Street features four housing blocks, and the government announced that all residents will have to be tested and stay put.

The lockdown order took effect at 7pm, and authorities hope the operation will end by 7am on Friday.

A man who lives in Block B said he was caught by surprise. He tried to go home about an hour after police cordoned off the area.

“This morning when I went to work, it was okay, nobody was there. Now I just come back now and I see like this, it’s very scary.”

Eastern district councillor Lee Yue-shun of the Civic Party, who represents the area, told RTHK that some residents were anxious about the lockdown.

He said authorities should take into consideration how the operation posed inconvenience to residents, such as the issue of hygiene.

“In this kind of old district, the clearance of rubbish really relies on the private contractor to collect all the rubbish on different floors of that building,” Lee said.

“If you lock down there overnight, there is nobody to handle the rubbish that has been accumulated for a day. I think the government has to be more considerate on some elderly and children, to let them go through the process in a more comfortable way.”

Meanwhile, infectious disease expert Leung Chi-chiu said the lockdown should have come earlier.

He said many residents had already moved out after Covid cases were reported there, and the operation may not be effective in stopping the spread of the virus.

Authorities said on Thursday that if residents had taken coronavirus tests in the past two days, they can be exempt from getting tested again during the lockdown as long as they can show relevant proof.

But they need to stay and wait at their homes until the others are tested.

A compulsory testing order was issued earlier for residents, but microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung of the University of Hong Kong said on Wednesday he believed only about half of the residents there have complied.

At least 13 confirmed or preliminary positive cases have been reported from Block C of the 56-year-old Tung Fat Building, and residents of units 6 and 7 were sent to quarantine centres.

Experts said they believed the narrow light well at Block C helped spread the virus vertically and infected people living on various floors.

On Tuesday, a number of buildings on Pitt Street and Tung On Street in Yau Ma Tei were locked down, with more than 300 residents tested for Covid and one infection recorded.
Last updated: 2021-01-28 HKT 22:39