Key Words: A ‘third wave?’ Hong Kong thought it had a handle on the coronavirus pandemic — it doesn’t

‘The first wave was the worries of transmissions from mainland (China), so we have put in a lot of measures. The second wave was the local transmissions, with those clusters arising from dinners and other things. Now we are facing the third wave.’

That’s Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam talking over the weekend about the “most difficult and challenging wave” of the coronavirus pandemic: Surging numbers abroad and the returning residents who are bringing the disease back home.

According to CNN, Lam said that it was “only natural” that as the number of new cases drops, people “relax a bit” — that happened in the beginning of March after Hong Kong was credited as one of the areas successfully getting a handle on the outbreak.

On March 2, after several weeks of shutdown, most of Hong Kong’s 180,000 civil servants returned to their offices, with the private sector following their lead. It all seemed fine until March 16.

But now, with the number of confirmed cases nearly doubling in the past week, Lam explained that it’s time to adjust. As of Wednesday, only residents will be allowed back in the territory. Civil servants are back working at home and strict quarantine measures are in place once again.

There are 356 confirmed cases and four deaths in Hong Kong, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University. Of the 356 cases, 252 are still active while about 100 people have recovered. Worldwide, 367,457 cases have been confirmed and at least 16,113 people have died. About 100,000 people have recovered. In the U.S., there are 41,511 cases and 499 deaths.