The city’s chief executive said on Friday that Hong Kong would postpone its next leadership election so that it can focus on preventing a spike in coronavirus cases caused by the Omicron variant.
Hong Kong’s leadership is not elected by the public, but by an “election committee” of more than 1,400 supporters of the Chinese Communist Party. The committee vote that took place on March 27 has been rescheduled to May 8, chief executive Carrie Lam said.
She also announced plans to introduce mandatory testing for all of the city’s 7.5 million inhabitants. She had previously rejected calls from pro-Beijing lawmakers to introduce mandatory universal testing.
“Our government needs to focus on the epidemic,” Lam said at a news conference on Friday. “We can’t lose.”
Hong Kong is experiencing its worst pandemic ever, with patients waiting on sidewalks outside overwhelmed hospitals and quarantine facilities reaching capacity. On Friday, more than 3,600 new cases were reported. Before this week, the city had never seen more than 2,000 new cases per day.
Lam said that the city has no plans to close as it continues to use a “dynamic zero” approach, which aims to quell each virus outbreak.
“In our case, after looking at the unique situation in Hong Kong, we will probably just go for a general check-up for everyone, but check more times,” she said on Thursday. Six.
Before the Omicron surge, Hong Kong had largely managed to avoid the worst of the pandemic. It has recorded 240 Covid deaths in the past two years, including the 10 deaths reported on Friday.
Earlier this month, the city introduced the most restrictive social distancing rules, including limiting the number of households allowed to meet in private to two. The rapid increase in cases has prompted the city to stop hospitalizing all Covid patients and instead instruct some people with little or no symptoms to isolate at government centers or at home. .
Lam, who was elected in 2017, has not said whether she will run for re-election.
China is tightening its grip on Hong Kong through national security legislation and a far-reaching crackdown on dissent. In 2020, the Hong Kong government postponed the city’s September legislative elections by one year, citing the pandemic. The pro-democracy opposition sees the move as an attempt to slow their electoral momentum and avoid the defeat of pro-Beijing candidates.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/19/world/asia/hong-kong-election-covid.html Hong Kong delays an election amid a whirlwind