July 31, 2020 7:48 AM EDT

(HONG KONG) — Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said Friday that the government will postpone highly anticipated legislative elections, citing a worsening coronavirus outbreak in the semi-autonomous Chinese city.

The Hong Kong government is invoking an emergency regulations ordinance in delaying the elections. Lam said the government has the support of the Chinese government in making the decision.

Hong Kong has seen a surge in coronavirus infections since the beginning of July.

The postponement is a setback for the opposition, which was hoping to capitalize on disenchantment with the current pro-Beijing majority to make gains.

Pro-democracy lawmakers have accused the government of using the outbreak as an excuse to delay the elections.

 

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