HONG KONG: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam is expected to announce later on Friday (Jul 31) that the Sep 6 election for seats in the city's legislature will be postponed, local media reported.
Mrs Lam is expected to delay the poll for a year amid a spike in COVID-19 cases in the global financial hub, a move which would deal a blow to the pro-democracy opposition, Cable TV reported.
The opposition was aiming to win a historic majority in the election given broad resentment of Beijing's imposition of a new national security law that has been widely criticised by Western countries as eroding citizens' rights.
The opposition was expecting a strong showing after an overwhelming win in lower-level district council elections last year, after months-long protests.
On Wednesday, Mrs Lam warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale COVID-19 outbreak, and urged people to stay indoors as much as possible as strict new measures to curb the disease's spread took effect.
The new regulations ban gatherings of more than two people, dining in restaurants and make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places, including outdoors. These are the toughest measures introduced in the city since the outbreak.
The government has also tightened testing and quarantine arrangements for sea and air crew members.
ACTIVISTS BARRED FROM STANDING IN ELECTION
Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong said on Friday the reasons for disqualifying him from running in elections for the legislature were "invalid and ridiculous."
Wong said in a statement that Hong Kong's new national security was a "legal weapon used against dissidents".
On Thursday, Hong Kong disqualified a dozen pro-democracy candidates from running in a key election, including Wong, citing reasons including collusion with foreign forces and opposition to the new China-imposed national security laws.