Thousands of Hong Kong residents were locked down in their homes on Saturday in an unprecedented move to contain a worsening coronavirus outbreak in the city as the number of Covid-19 infections globally neared the 100 million mark.
The US, India, Brazil, Russia and the UK are the five worst-hit countries, with the widely followed Johns Hopkins University tracker’s worldwide tally showing 98.27 million infections as of Saturday evening. The disease has claimed over 2.1 million lives around the world.
In Hong Kong, authorities said an area comprising 16 buildings in the city’s Yau Tsim Mong district would be locked down until all residents were tested. Residents would not be allowed to leave their homes until they received their test results to prevent cross-infection.
Hong Kong has been grappling to contain a fresh wave of the coronavirus since November. Over 4,300 cases have been recorded in the last two months, making up nearly 40% of the city’s total.
In the US, President Joe Biden said on Friday the Covid-19 death toll in the country is feared to top 600,000. “The virus is surging. We’re 400,000 dead, expected to reach well over 600,000,” he told a news conference, giving his highest estimate yet for the US outbreak’s eventual death toll.
Biden has signed a slew of executive orders, including a one to fix the country’s economy that has been battered by the pandemic that has also left some 18 million Americans unemployed.
On day three of his presidency, Biden announced “The American Rescue Plan” that includes economic relief for most Americans who are in need and to boost economic relief for the people struggling during the pandemic.