The Hong Kong government warned yesterday, that it reserved the right to break into homes and remove residents for testing, if they refused to answer their doors during so-called “ambush lockdowns.” An ambush lockdown is when the authorities, with no advanced warning, arrive at a residential location, start banging on doors and demanding that those inside take a coronavirus test.
According to RTHK News (Hong Kong’s Public Broadcasting Service):
…the administration complained that during recent lockdown operations, some residents of the buildings involved did not open their doors to officials coming round to order coronavirus tests.
“There are reasons to believe that people were inside the units,” the statement said. It then listed the various moves the authorities can take if they encounter such situations, including “removing individuals” and applying to a magistrate for a warrant to “break into and forcefully enter a unit”.
“The government will continue to restrict all persons from entering or leaving the relevant premises as prescribed by law and relevant instruments, and arrange for security guards to be stationed if necessary,” the statement said.
“The government will also request bailiffs to assist in cordoning off the relevant premises as appropriate, and will request relevant persons to be responsible for the charges incurred.”
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said that the ambush lockdowns were “not a waste of manpower and money but instead well worth it”. “We can’t take the number of confirmed cases as the sole or decisive standard,” she told reporters. “Efficacy does not only concern recovery rate, but also prevention of the disease.”
The surprise or “ambush lockdowns” have been carried out in several locations, but not a single resident tested positive for coronavirus. This story will be of interest to UK citizens who were told yesterday, that they’d be subjected to so-called surge testing, to find the South African coronavirus variant.
Yesterday, thousands of households in Surrey, The Midlands and the East of the country, were told that a testing kit would be pushed through their letterboxes, to be collected after those at home had tested themselves. It’s likely that some households will not test themselves and return the kits unopened. How long before someone in the UK government looks towards Hong Kong for inspiration on how to deal with those irresponsible citizens who won’t get with the programme?