Hong Kong

Hong Kong ‘cannot afford to lose’ fight against surging COVID-19

Reuters
Hong Kong ‘cannot afford to lose’ fight against surging COVID-19

Lam Foon, a 98-year-old who tested preliminary positive for the Omicron variant of coronavirus, lies on a hospital bed outside the accident and emergency ward of Caritas Medical Centre in Sham Shui Po district, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Hong Kong, China, February 17, 2022.

REUTERS/James Pomfret

Quarantine facilities in Hong Kong have reached capacity as cases spiral, with some patients, including elderly, left on beds outside in chilly, sometimes rainy weather

HONG KONG – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Friday, February 18, that it would take up to three months to
stabilize a worsening COVID-19 pandemic that has overwhelmed health facilities and forced the postponement of an upcoming leadership election.

“Our government needs to focus on the epidemic,” Lam said at a press conference after a week that saw daily infections jump by 60% so far this month. It “cannot be diverted… we cannot afford to lose,” she said.

Quarantine facilities in Hong Kong have reached capacity and hospital beds are more than 95% full as cases spiral, with some patients, including elderly, left on beds outside in chilly, sometimes rainy weather.

The former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who backs a “dynamic
zero-COVID” strategy, has said controlling the spread is Hong Kong’s “over-riding mission”.

Lam said Hong Kong’s daily caseload had yet to peak and that plans were being drawn up for a mandatory testing program to cover the whole of the territory.

A citywide lockdown was not being planned, she said.

Hong Kong reported 3,629 new daily COVID-19 infections on Friday, with an additional 7,600 preliminary positive cases.

Authorities reported 10 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total deaths to over 240 but still much lower than in other major global cities.

The Hospital Authority said it was aiming to move all patients currently lying outside in open-air beds to indoors by Friday night ahead of an expected drop in temperature to around 10 degrees C (50°F). – Rappler.com

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