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President Xi Jinping called for Hong Kong officials to take "all necessary measures” in getting the city’s virus outbreak under control, an unusually direct intervention that could pave the way for stricter measures and possibly a broader lockdown in the Asian financial hub.

The Chinese leader said Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s government should make stabilizing the COVID-19 situation its top priority, the state-run Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao newspapers reported Wednesday, without saying where they got the information.

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