2020 coronavirus pandemic in Hong Kong

The first confirmed case of the global pandemic of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in the territory of Hong Kong was announced on 23 January 2020. As of 7 April 2020, Hong Kong has 936 confirmed cases.

2020 coronavirus pandemic in Hong Kong
COVID-19 Outbreak Cases in Hong Kong.svg
Map of districts with confirmed (red) coronavirus cases (as of 7 March)
Virus strainSARS-CoV-2
LocationHong Kong
First outbreakWuhan, Hubei, China
Arrival date23 January 2020
(2 months, 2 weeks and 2 days)
Confirmed cases936 [1]
Suspected cases1
Recovered236 [2]
4 [1][2]
Official website
Suspected cases have not been confirmed as being due to this strain by laboratory tests, although some other strains may have been ruled out.


The coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, took place in the backdrop of the ongoing widespread political protests since June 2019, when the Carrie Lam administration attempted to enact the Fugitive Offenders and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Legislation (Amendment) Bill 2019 – a law which would have allowed the extradition of fugitives to any territory not covered by existing extradition treaties, including Taiwan, Mainland China and Macau. The legislative process was suspended without the bill ever being withdrawn.[3][4] The economy of the city has thus been reeling under the effects of the unrest, as business confidence has suffered and the tourism and service sectors has been affected.

The District Council election in November, widely regarded as a proxy referendum over the protest movement's demands,[5] saw the pro-democrats achieved their biggest landslide victory in Hong Kong's history amidst hugely negative sentiment against the government.[6][5] Lam had invoked the Emergency Regulations Ordinance on 4 October to impose a law to ban wearing face masks in public gatherings.[7][8] The law came into contradiction with later measures to control the spread of the virus.

For Hongkongers, the outbreak evoked bitter memories as the city was at the forefront of the SARS epidemic in 2003, when over 1,700 people contracted the virus and almost 300 people died locally.[9]


COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong  ()
     Deaths        Recoveries        Active cases
# of cases
Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health


Upon learning of the outbreak, the government required disclosure of those who had been to wet markets in Wuhan. The government widened the criteria for notification on 3 January – anyone who had visited Wuhan within 14 days before the onset of any respiratory symptoms of illness would need to inform health authorities.[10]

The HK government declared a "serious response level" to the virus outbreak centred on Wuhan on 4 January, when Hong Kong announced eight suspected cases; the eight cases turned out negative for the disease from Wuhan. Medical experts in Hong Kong urged mainland authorities to be more forthcoming with Wuhan patient information that could aid epidemiological study.[10] Although Wuhan health authorities said there was “no obvious evidence” of human-to-human transmission of the then-unidentified virus, University of Hong Kong infectious diseases expert Dr Ho Pak-leung suspected such transmission had happened among cases in Wuhan, and urged “the most stringent” precautionary measures.[10] However, press reported that border checkpoint at the high-speed rail terminal were lax at that point in time.[9] On 8 January, Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) added "Severe respiratory disease associated with a novel infectious agent" to their list of notifiable diseases to expand their authority on quarantine.[11] The Hong Kong government also shortened hospital visits and made it a requirement for visitors to wear face masks. Screening was tightened at airports and train stations with connections to Wuhan.[12] In the first week of 2020, 30 unwell travellers from Wuhan were tested. Most had other respiratory viruses.[13][14]

On 22 January, a man from Mainland China, aged 39, who travelled from Shenzhen and arrived in Hong Kong by high-speed rail developed symptoms of pneumonia. He lived in Wuhan and he had arrived in Shenzhen by highspeed rail with his family. He tested positive for the virus and was hospitalised in Princess Margaret Hospital, Kowloon. The same day, a 56-year-old man from Ma On Shan, who had visited Wuhan in the previous week, also tested positive. These two cases were listed as "Highly Suspected Cases", as they would have to go through another round of testing before they are declared as "Confirmed Cases".[15][16][17]

On 23 January, The Hong Kong government designated the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village in Sai Kung as a quarantine centre.[18] The Hong Kong Tourism Board cancelled the Lunar New Year Cup and a four-day Lunar New Year carnival, citing concerns over the virus outbreak.[19][20] In addition, the previous two cases of "Highly Suspected Cases" had been confirmed as "Confirmed Cases" by health and government officials.[citation needed]

On 24 January, health authorities confirmed three more cases, all of the patients had come from Wuhan to Hong Kong. The third case was a 62-year-old woman that had arrived to Hong Kong with her husband. They had both moved in with their daughter and son-in-law on 19 January, who lived in Hong Kong. Her husband, daughter and son-in-law had not developed symptoms and were both transferred to the Lady MacLehose Holiday Village for quarantine. The 4th and 5th cases were a 62-year-old woman and her husband of age 63. They had both arrived in Hong Kong on 22 January and had moved in to their daughter's house, similar to the 3rd case. Both had attempted to escape from Prince Whales Hospital after learning that they would have to be quarantined, but failed when the hospital called in the police.[21]

On 25 January, the Hong Kong government declared the viral outbreak as an "emergency", the highest warning tier.[22] The city's largest amusement parks, Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Ocean Park Hong Kong, and Madame Tussauds Hong Kong closed from 26 January, until further notice.[23]

On 26 January, three more cases had been identified. The 6th case consisted of a 47-year-old man who lived in North Point, Hong Kong Island. He had previously worked at a wet market in Wuhan for a few weeks before returning to Hong Kong. He had also been bitten by a wild dog in Wuhan. The 7th case was a 68-year-old woman that had a Hong Kong passport, but lived in Shenzhen, China. She had developed a fever and cough on 21 January, and was sent to North District Hospital when she presented symptoms while arriving at the Shenzhen-Hong Kong (Luo-hu) border on 25 January. She had also previously visited Wuhan in the same month. The 8th case was the husband (Age 64) of the 3rd case in Hong Kong. He had developed a fever on the night of 25 January during quarantine, and was immediately sent to hospital to be tested for the coronavirus. The result came out positive. A newly built housing block in Fanling in Hong Kong's New Territories, that was planned to be used as a quarantine facility for people who may have been exposed to Wuhan coronavirus, was fire-bombed. Dozens of residents and protesters opposed to the idea held rallies outside the complex. Some set up roadblocks and in the evening assailants set the place on fire.[24]

On 28 January, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Carrie Lam stated the high-speed rail service between Hong Kong and mainland China would be suspended starting on 30 January, and all cross-border ferry services would also be suspended in a bid to stop the spread of coronavirus.[25] Additionally, the number of flights from mainland China would be cut in half, cross-border bus services reduced, and the Hong Kong government is asking all its employees (except those providing essential/emergency services) to work from home. In a later press conference that day, Carrie Lam said that the Man Kam To and Sha Tau Kok border checkpoints would be closed.[26]

On 29 January, two connected cases had been confirmed by health officials, raising the number of confirmed cases to 10. The 9th and 10th cases consisted of a couple from Wuhan, China in their 70s who had arrived in Hong Kong on board Cathay Dragon KA853 on January 22, and checked into the W Hotel in West Kowloon on the same day. They had visited multiple restaurants at the hotel and the Elements mall; they also visited the Ritz Carlton and also Four Seasons Hotel on 28 January. During their visit to Four Seasons Hotel, the staff had sensed that both visitors had high temperatures and a consistent cough. Therefore, the staff called an ambulance for help and both of them were transferred to Queen Mary Hospital, Hong Kong Island. After testing twice, the results showed that both of them had contracted the coronavirus. The Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) announced that all facilities overseen by the department including all public museums, public libraries and sports centres and venues will be closed until further notice as a health precaution.[27] On 14 February, the LCSD announced that the closure of its facilities will extended until 2 March 2020.[28]

On 30 January, two individual cases of coronavirus had been confirmed, raising the count to 12. The 11th case was a 39-year-old woman who lived and worked in Hong Kong, also the daughter of the 9th and 10th (Husband and Wife from Wuhan) cases. She had previously also stayed with them at the W Hotel in West Kowloon, and also visited the places they went in Hong Kong. She had developed symptoms on 28 January, after sending her parents to hospital. After learning that her parents had contracted COVID-19, she visited the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and was confirmed to have the virus after tests on 30 January. This was the first case in Hong Kong of which the patient did not visit Wuhan/Mainland China during the previous month. The 12th patient was a 75-year-old man who lived in Tsing Yi, Kowloon. He had visited the Guangdong province in China during late December till early January. He had also visited Macau for several days in mid-January. He developed coughing symptoms on January 22 and was hospitalised in a regular hospital room at the Queen Margaret Hospital, he was not tested as he did not inform the doctors that he had been to Macau and Mainland China in the previous month. On January 30 his conditions worsened and he was tested for the coronavirus, and the result came out positive.[citation needed]

On 31 January, one case of COVID-19 had been confirmed. The patient was a Hong Kong 39-year-old (13th case) with diabetes, who lived in Whampoa, Kowloon. He had came back from Wuhan in the previous week, and developed muscle pain on 29 January. He developed a cough and fever on 31 January, and was confirmed to have the coronavirus. Afterwards, his family were transferred to a quarantine camp.[citation needed]


On 4 February, the CHP reported Hong Kong's first death, that of a 39-year-old patient, the 13th case.[29]

On 5 February, Hong Kong confirmed three more cases.[30] Another three were confirmed on 6 February,[31] with another two cases on 7 February.[32]

On 9 February, Hong Kong confirmed three more cases with two from the same family, bringing the total number to 29.[33] It was also announced on the same day that the passengers and crew of the World Dream cruise ship were allowed to leave after a check revealed that they were negative for the coronavirus and have no history of being in close contact with eight passengers who disembarked and were found to be positive for the virus.[34]

On 17 February, the CHP had identified 60 cases in Hong Kong with two patients since recovered.[35][36]

On 19 February, a 70-year-old man with underlying illnesses became the second death in Hong Kong.[37]

As of 24 February, a total of 81 cases were identified.[38]


Street in Hong Kong during the COVID-19 pandemic

As of 2 March, Hong Kong had reached 100 confirmed cases. Two new cases were confirmed that day which include a brother of a COVID-19 patient and a woman from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. An 88-year-old man living at a care home in Shau Kei Wan had tested "weak positive" for the virus the same day, further tests would be done to test whether he was infected.[39]

On 19 March, Joel Werner, chief investment officer at Solitude Capital Management, was identified on a video intended for friends which became viral. In the video, he was seen to be licking his hands and then wiping on a train handle in Hong Kong's MTR.[40]

On 20 March, Hong Kong recorded 48 new coronavirus infections on Friday, the biggest daily tally since testing began and reached 256 confirmed cases.[41]

On 25 March, Hong Kong closed its border to all incoming nonresidents arriving from overseas. Transiting through Hong Kong is no longer allowed either. All returning residents, regardless of point of departure, are subject to the Compulsory Quarantine Order, which requires all to stay at a reported quarantine premise (either home or hotel) for 14 days. Tracking devices are employed to enforce the order. All returning residents from the United States, the UK, and continental Europe are required to go through enhanced screening and submit saliva sample for COVID-19 testing.[42]


On 1 April, the Hong Kong government announced the temporary closure of karaoke lounges, nightclubs and mahjong premises. Confusion over the government's listing of venues to be temporarily closed led the public to believe that other venues such as beauty parlors, massage parlors and clubhouses would have to be closed as well. However the government clarified that such establishments would be allowed to remain open subject to businesses providing hand sanitizer to customers, as well as requiring customers to wear a mask and have their temperature taken while inside the business venue.[43]

On Friday 3 April at 1800 hrs, all pubs and bars across the territory were ordered to close for 14 day.[44]


Amidst shortages due to panic buying of certain household items, the Mong Kok branch of Wellcome supermarket was robbed, and armed gangs made off with 50 packets (600 rolls) of toilet paper.[45]


Hong Kong recommended wearing a surgical mask when taking public transport or staying in crowded places.[46]


Ruled out cases: 6,057 (up to 5 April 2020)
Cases in hospital for investigation: 132 (up to 5 April 2020)
Confirmed cases: 935
Probable cases: 1

Asymptomatic cases: 155 (16.6% of confirmed cases)
Average time from date of onset to confirm: ~6 days

Cases by age groups and genderEdit

No. of cases up to 7 April noon
Hospitalised Discharged Deceased Calculated
Ages Male Female Male Female Male Female Total Percentage
0 to 20 98 63 10 13 184 19.7%
21 to 30 74 79 31 21 205 21.9%
31 to 40 79 68 19 18 1 185 19.8%
41 to 50 45 35 19 13 112 12.0%
51 to 60 48 36 19 23 126 13.5%
61 to 70 33 18 12 22 1 86 9.2%
above 70 8 12 8 8 1 1 38 4.1%

Cases by area and hospitalsEdit

No. of cases up to 7 April noon
Hospital Hospitalised Discharged Deceased
Island East
Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital 79 31 1
Ruttonjee Hospital 25 32
Island West
Queen Mary Hospital 62 41
Kowloon Central
Queen Elizabeth Hospital 73 25
Kwong Wah Hospital 16 3
Kowloon East
United Christian Hospital 84 23
Tseung Kwan O Hospital 25 1
Kowloon West
Princess Margaret Hospital 80 35 2
Caritas Medical Centre 18 2 1
Yan Chai Hospital 15
North Lantau Hospital 2
New Territories East
Prince of Wales Hospital 73 14
Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital 37 5
North District Hospital 23 12
New Territories West
Tuen Mun Hospital 80 12
Pok Oi Hospital 2


Daily number of new cases by month:


Number of active cases since 1 March:


Number of cases by condition:

  Cases in hospital: 694
  Cases pending for admission: 2
  Discharged cases: 236
  Fatal cases: 4

Number of cases by infection source:

  Imported cases: 530 (56.6% of confirmed cases)
  Local cases: 74 (7.9% of confirmed cases)
  Possibly local cases: 105 (11.2% of confirmed cases)
  Close contact of confirmed cases: 227 (24.3% of confirmed cases)


Queue to buy face masks in Hong Kong, January 30, 2020. Everybody in the line is already wearing a disposable mask.

Since the outbreak of the virus, a significant number of products have been sold out across the city, including face masks and disinfectant products (such as alcohol and bleach).[47] An ongoing period of panic buying has also caused many stores to be cleared of non-medical products such as bottled water, vegetables, and rice.[48] The Government of Hong Kong had its imports of face masks cancelled as global face mask stockpiles decline.[49]

In view of the coronavirus outbreak, the Education Bureau closed all kindergartens, primary schools, secondary schools, and special schools until 20 April.[50] The disruption has raised concerns over the situation of students who are due to take examinations at the end of the year, especially in light of the protest-related disruption that happened in 2019.[51]

On 5 February, flag carrier Cathay Pacific requested its 27,000 employees to voluntarily take three weeks of unpaid leave by the end of June. The airline had previously reduced flights to mainland China by 90% and overall flights by 30%.[52]

See alsoEdit


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  2. ^ a b Corona Tracker Overview
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External linksEdit