With fewer new coronavirus cases, Hong Kong lawmaker says he hopes shutdown will end

With the daily increase in coronavirus cases falling to single-digit levels in recent days, a Hong Kong lawmaker said he hopes the government will soon start to lift measures restricting movements in the city.

Hong Kong has reported a total of 1,017 cases of the coronavirus disease, or Covid-19, as of Wednesday, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. That’s an addition of four infections from the previous day — and the fourth consecutive day of single-digit new cases in Hong Kong, the data showed.

The city started implementing social-distancing measures in February — much earlier than most countries around the world. But as several countries — including some still reporting thousands of new cases daily — start to lift restrictions on businesses, Hong Kong authorities have not announced plans to do the same.

“I hope all these restrictions will (be) put to an end,” Jeffrey Lam, a member of Hong Kong’s legislative council, told CNBC’s Emily Tan.

He added that if daily new cases continue to be low, “I hope this can bring Hong Kong back to a more normal situation.”

The coronavirus pandemic has hit Hong Kong — a major financial hub in Asia — at a time when its economy was already struggling under the pressure of anti-government protests and the U.S.-China trade war. The economy entered a recession and shrank by 1.2% in 2019.

Lam, who’s also a member of the city’s executive council that advises Hong Kong’s leader on policy making, said the government’s stimulus measures could go some ways to save jobs and keep businesses afloat during the pandemic.

“The business community (is) concerned about how they can survive, how they’re going to pay the bills during such times, so it is important for the government to help companies to ride over the storm,” he said.

“During this difficult time, nobody can predict what will happen in the next week or next month, so we just have to prepare for the return of the economy.”


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