Hong Kong stated on Saturday that a surge in the number of imported cases of coronavirus or COVID-19 will lead to a community outbreak which will put pressure on the city's already stretched healthcare facilities.

The government also mentioned that it will postpone the university exams till April 24. The territory which is ruled by China has confirmed 273 cases of coronavirus and four deaths till now. It is trying to contain the increase in the spread of the deadly virus.

Hong Kong COVID-19 crisis

Chief nurse Ma Jing holds a patient's hand to comfort her in the ICU (intensive care unit) of Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University in Wuhan, central China's Hubei Province, Jan. 24, 2020. By Thursday midnight, Hubei Province in central China reported 549 cumulative confirmed cases of the new coronavirus pneumonia, with 495 in Wuhan, the provincial capital. (Xinhua/Xiong Qi/IANS) Xinhua/IANS

"The influx of people returning from overseas will last at least two weeks ... The recent epidemic caused by imported cases is much more severe than any period of combating the pandemic in the past two months," Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said. "It is more difficult to handle and (will) most likely lead to a large and continuous community outbreak."

Hong Kong has toughened curbs on travelers, ordering 14 days of quarantine for arrivals from midnight on Thursday and advising against all non-essential travel. The government said it would make civil servants work from home and urged employers to be flexible with work from home arrangements. Schools would remain closed until further notice, it added.

(With agency inputs)