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Hong Kong lifts lockdown in Kowloon district after testing 7,000 people

Health workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) stand inside a locked down portion of the Jordan residential area to contain a new outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Hong Kong, China January 23, 2021. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

HONG KONG (Reuters) - The Hong Kong government lifted a lockdown in an area of Kowloon district in the early hours of Monday after testing about 7,000 people for coronavirus to curb an outbreak in the densely populated area.

The government set up 51 temporary testing stations on Saturday and found 13 confirmed cases in the restricted area that is home to many ageing, subdivided flats in which the disease could spread more quickly.

“Businesses in the area have been hit hard and brought to a standstill,” the government said in a statement.

“The government hopes this temporary inconvenience will completely cut the local transmission chains in the district and ease residents’ worries and fear, so that they will regain confidence in resuming social and business activities in the area, and return to a normal life.”

The lockdown in the neighbourhoods of Jordan, across the harbour from the heart of the business district, was the first such measure imposed in the global financial hub since the outbreak happened.

On Sunday, the government reported 76 cases of coronavirus, taking the total to 10,086, of which 169 people have died.

Hong Kong authorities have taken aggressive measures to curb the spread of the virus, including a ban on in-house dining after 6 p.m. and closing facilities such as gyms, sports venues and beauty salons.

Most residents wear face masks when moving around the city.

Reporting by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Stephen Coates

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