Hong Kong’s first black rain warning of 2021 downgraded to amber after it suspends schools, Covid-19 vaccination services

  • Coronavirus jabs will resume later today if the warning is cancelled before the end of operating hours
  • A landslide on Lantau blocked two lanes of traffic, and flooding was reported on Cheung Chau

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People queue on the street under heavy rain in Tai Po. Photo: SCMP/Winson Wong

Hong Kong’s Observatory downgraded the city’s first black rainstorm warning this year down to amber Monday, after the downpour prompted the suspension of class and caused landslides in some parts of the city.

The black rainstorm was issued at 8.20am, and was downgraded to the red warning - the second of a three-tier rainstorm system, with black being the most severe - at 11.05am, and finally down to amber at 11:45am.

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The government announced that classes would be suspended on Monday, leading to some unexpected free time for students.

"I'm playing with a piano app which is incredibly fun, as well as messaging my friends," said Rhea Saxena, 14, of KGV. "I'm also re-watching Modern Family for at least the 20th time."

Summer holidays have already started for Island School student Hannah Wu, 15, so today didn't end up being too different from how she planned.

"I'm going down the rabbit hole of guilty procrastination again," she said. 

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“Schools should implement contingency plan and arrange staff to look after students who might arrive and ensure that conditions are safe before allowing students to return home,” the government said in a statement.

A landslide at about 8am on Lantau Island blocked two lanes of traffic, police said, while four other landslides and flooding were reported on Cheung Chau.

The city’s Covid-19 vaccination services were briefly suspended in the morning, but have resumed after the black rainstorm warning was downgraded to the red signal.

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Residents affected by the suspension will have their appointments automatically rebooked and receive a notification via SMS.

The city’s education authorities urged schools to keep their premises open and implement contingency measures for any students who had already arrived, while parents were asked to only pick their children up if conditions were safe.

The Social Welfare Department also said residents should not take children or other family members to care centres while the storm warnings were still raised, although facilities would remain open for any members of the public unable to provide care.

At 5.55am, the Hong Kong Observatory raised the red rainstorm warning, the second-highest warning signal, for only the second time this year.

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