Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city was on the verge of a large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 infections and warned this could lead to the collapse of their hospital system.
In a statement issued on the Hong Kong government’s website on Tuesday, Lam said: “Hong Kong is facing a new wave of COVID-19 infections, with an upsurge in locally infected cases, many with yet unknown sources.”
She said: “We are on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak, which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly.”
According to her, the Hong Kong government has put in place stringent measures to enforce social distancing and other regulations to help curb the spread of the virus.
She appealed to the public and said: “What we need now is your cooperation.”
“I appeal to you to follow strictly the social distancing measures and stay at home as far as possible. If we stand united and work together, we can suppress this epidemic again,” she said.
Hong Kong has so far recorded 2,885 cases but has seen a spike in the past week – with over 100 new cases reported daily since July 22.
The new regulations ban gatherings of more than two people, close dining in restaurants and make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places, including outdoors. These are the toughest measures introduced in the city since the outbreak.
The government has also tightened testing and quarantine arrangements for sea and aircrew members, effective on Wednesday.
Although numbers are still much lower than in other parts of the world, the rise in infections in Hong Kong has officials worried.
According to Bloomberg, a large-scale outbreak could lead to a humanitarian crisis.
“It is extremely difficult to enforce a lockdown in Hong Kong,” said Fernando Cheung, a lawmaker with a record of social advocacy.
Cheung told Bloomberg: “There are more than 200,000 people living in subdivided units, some without private toilets and others combining their kitchens, toilets, and sleeping places all in one room. To ask people not to step out of that environment for a long period of time is inhumane and impractical.”
Elon Musk begins Twitter poll on reinstating Trump’s account
Twitter owner Elon Musk launched a poll Friday on the social media platform asking if former US President Donald Trump should be allowed back on the platform.
“Reinstate former President Trump,” Musk wrote in a post which garnered more than 4.4 million impressions at the time of publication, Anadolu Agency reported.
More than 55% of users voted “yes,” while 44% said “no.”
Hours earlier, the American billionaire implied that he was mulling whether to reinstate Trump’s Twitter account.
“Trump decision has not yet been made,” tweeted Musk, as he announced three high-profile reinstatements of accounts that were banned by the social media giant.
“Kathie Griffin, Jorden Peterson & Babylon Bee have been reinstated,” said Musk.
Trump had about 88.8 million followers when Twitter permanently suspended the former US president’s account in January 2021, citing his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol and the potential for more violence.
Musk had forecast a Trump return in May when he called the expulsion “morally wrong and flat-out stupid.”
IEA says it has eradicated war and corruption in Afghanistan
The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan (IEA), Mullah Mohammad Hassan Akhund, said at a meeting on Wednesday with officials from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that the Islamic Emirate has been able to eliminate war and administrative corruption in the country and pave the ground for progress and development.
He said that the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has created an aid fund for Afghanistan and they will help Afghanistan in health, education, and other fields in addition to humanitarian aid.
An OIC official meanwhile said it will stand by Afghanistan and we will continue its cooperation with Afghanistan in the areas of prosperity, stability, and development.
The Prime Minister of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, Mullah Muhammad Hassan Akhund, meanwhile welcomed the delegation of the OIC, and said, “You will see the real facts and the efforts of the Islamic Emirate in various sectors.”
He said that the Islamic Emirate has been able to eliminate war, insecurity, murder, destruction, and corruption in the country.
In conclusion, the IEA will not allow anyone to use Afghanistan soil against other countries, he said.
Explosion in busy Istanbul street leaves at least 4 dead
An explosion on Istanbul’s popular pedestrian Istiklal Avenue on Sunday afternoon has left at least four people dead and a number of people injured, a senior official told Associated Press.
Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya tweeted that the explosion occurred at about 4:20 p.m. Istanbul time and that there were deaths and injuries, but he did not say how many. The cause of the explosion was not clear.
Al Jazeera also reported at least four people were killed and 38 others injured.
However, according to the Associated Press, Turkey’s media watchdog imposed a temporary media ban on reporting of the explosion, which means broadcasters cannot show videos of the moment of the blast or its aftermath.
The Supreme Board of Radio and Television has imposed similar bans in the past, following attacks, accidents and some political issues.
Footage on social media showed ambulances, fire trucks and police at the scene. Social media users said shops were shuttered and the avenue closed down.
Broadcaster CNN Turk meanwhile reported 11 people were injured.
The avenue is a crowded thoroughfare popular with tourists and locals, lined by shops and restaurants.
Turkey was hit by a string of deadly bombings between 2015 and 2017 by ISIS (Daesh) and outlawed Kurdish groups.
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