Hong Kong re-established social distancing guidelines Monday in an effort to slow down the spread of COVID-19, following an uptick in local cases.
The city reported 52 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, according to the city’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam.
New social distancing measures include limiting gatherings to four people, down from 50, and mandating the wearing of masks on public transportation. Additionally, 12 types of businesses were ordered to close completely, including gyms, hair salons, and nightclubs.
“We don’t want to see our earlier efforts go to waste,” Lam said during the press conference. “Until there is an effective vaccine that could be applied widely, we may have to coexist with this virus for some time to come.”
⚠️HKDL Updates | Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, HKDL will be closed again. Official details will be announced later. #hongkongdisneyland #hkdisneyland #hkdl #disneyparks #香港ディズニーランド #ディズニーランド #hk #hongkong pic.twitter.com/OWeQgbtL1t
— HKDL of Fantasy (@hkdl_of_fantasy) July 13, 2020
Despite the city’s proximity to China, where the global COVID-19 pandemic originated, Hong Kong has been able to keep a lid on the virus by enforcing strict social distancing guidelines, conducting robust contact tracing for each new case, and effectively isolating sick residents.
In the last six months, the city has reported 1,522 total cases and just eight deaths, according to AFP.
Global Cases Still Climbing
Meanwhile, the global death count from COVID-19 topped 569,000 on Monday. The United States leads, with over 135,000 deaths, and Brazil and Britain are next, with over 72,000 and nearly 45,000 casualties, respectively.
The outbreak in Latin America is growing increasingly worse, with the region reporting almost 145,000 deaths on Monday, more than the deaths of the US and Canada combined. The Latin American outbreak is led by Brazil, which accounts for almost half of the total cases.
In Spain, an outbreak of coronavirus in the Catalan city of Lleida forced officials to reimpose a lockdown order, affecting almost 200,000 residents. But on Monday, a judge overturned the confinement order, saying it was too strict.
“What is proposed today goes far beyond a simple limitation of movement and seriously affects constitutionally recognized rights,” Judge Elena Garcia-Munoz Alarcos said.
In the United States, President Donald Trump’s administration is pushing for schools to reopen in the fall, despite the raging pandemic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations that people shouldn’t gather in large groups.
Education Sec. Betsy DeVos: "The rule should be that kids go back to school this fall." pic.twitter.com/LUvpiLc8df
— The Hill (@thehill) July 13, 2020
“We know there are going to be [coronavirus] hot spots. And those need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis. But the rule should be that kids go back to school this fall,” Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos told CNN’s Dana Bash this weekend.
DeVos and Trump are receiving criticism from students, parents, teachers, and school officials about their push to reopen.
“A lot of our family and communities want to get back to normal, but we have to do normal in the context of COVID-19. We have to be able to reopen schools in a responsible and safe fashion, for our students, for our staff, and for our community,” Scott Brabrand, the superintendent of Fairfax County schools in Virginia, told CNN.