Hong Kong's government has decided to postpone the upcoming Legislative Council elections for one year, citing a recent upsurge in coronavirus infections.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced at a news conference on Friday the postponement of the polls originally scheduled for September 6.
Lam said that it was a difficult decision but she made it to safeguard people's health as the coronavirus has spread again since early July.
She also said that the postponement was based entirely on public safety reasons and there were no political considerations.
The Hong Kong government is tightening its grip on political activities in the territory after the new national security law went into effect in late June.
Its latest decision has dealt a major blow to the pro-democracy camp which was aiming to secure a majority of seats in the legislative council for the first time.
On Thursday, 12 candidates from the camp were disqualified for the elections because of their political positions.