Hong Kong's economy suffers deeper contraction
Hong Kong's economy, already damaged by months of protest before the coronavirus outbreak, experienced its worst decline yet.
The region's GDP shrank 8.9% year-over-year in the first quarter, the deepest contraction since records began in 1974 and the fourth consecutive quarter to fall.
Chief executive Carrie Lam noted that it was worse than what it experienced during the Asian financial crisis in 1998.
"Many economists already expected the economy to contract and were not optimistic, but the 8.9% drop is worse than expected," Lam said on Tuesday.
Hong Kong has largely carried out a massive local outbreak of coronavirus, credited to the community's efforts to distance itself socially, adopt strict hygiene measures and wear masks, in addition to government-implemented travel restrictions, mass testing and quarantine requirements .
The city government has announced massive stimulus packages to keep the economy afloat and support citizens, but the pandemic and associated measures have had a drastic impact on the economy. Last week, finance secretary Paul Chan warned that they were heading for the worst recession on record.
Hong Kong has not reported a case of community transmission in 15 days and is on the verge of relaxing current measures of social detachment to allow groups of eight years to meet in public.
"I feel very strongly … that the time has come to lift the restrictions that we put on social contacts," Lam said on Tuesday.
“So I would like you to be a little more patient. We will make the decision and announce it as soon as possible. "
WHO says it has no evidence to support the "speculative" theory of the Covid-19 lab promoted by the US
The World Health Organization says the United States has given no evidence to support its "speculative" claim that Covid-19 originated in a Wuhan laboratory, as China rejected the Trump administration's claim as "insane".
Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed to have evidence of the virus, which scientists believe has jumped from animals to humans, possibly in a wet Chinese market in Wuhan last year, actually originated in a laboratory in the same city.
The US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said on Sunday the United States had "huge evidence" to support the theory, but did not produce it publicly or provide it to WHO, the organization's emergency director, said Dr. Michael Ryan.
"So from our perspective, it remains speculative," said Ryan.
"Like any evidence-based organization, we would be very willing to receive any information that purported to be the source of the virus," said Ryan, emphasizing that this was "a very important piece of public health information for future control."
"If this data and evidence is available, it will be for the United States government to decide if and when it can be shared, but it is difficult for WHO to operate in the information vacuum in this regard," he added.