According to Carrie Lam, the head of the city administration in Hong Kong, the city has been overwhelmed by new Covid-19 infections, which have surged within the past two weeks. Daily cases are 20 times higher when compared to two weeks ago, leaving many hospital’s struggling to keep up with the influx.
“The onslaught of the fifth wave of the epidemic has dealt a heavy blow to Hong Kong and overwhelmed the city’s capacity of handling. Patients are having to wait longer to access isolation facilities. The situation is highly undesirable and the government feels worried and sorry about it.”
China has stated that it will be helping Hong Kong with testing, treatment, quarantine efforts, and securing resources like rapid antigen tests and protective gear for healthcare workers.
Deaths in Hong Kong have remained low, especially when compared to the impact of the virus on the city when the pandemic first began. However, at the rate they’re going now, Hong Kong is expecting up to 28,000 new cases to appear by the end of March.
Hospital beds for Covid-19 patients are currently at 90% occupancy, according to the city’s Hospital Authority. Isolation facilities are also nearing full capacity, so the city is prioritizing elderly individuals and children who are in serious conditions.
According to the authorities, there are around 1,000 people waiting to be hospitalized currently. Hong Kong in general has experienced about 24,000 infections and more than 200 deaths since the pandemic first began, which proportionately is less than many other small major cities.
Lam said authorities would “spare no effort to implement the dynamic zero coronavirus infection strategy in Hong Kong, which, like mainland China, seeks to curb outbreaks as soon as they occur, in contrast with many other places that are trying to live with COVID.”
Currently residents of Hong Kong are banned from attending public gatherings of more than two people, while public locations like schools, churches, and gyms are shut down. Dining in restaurants is banned after 6 p.m. and most individuals are working remotely.
Strict flight restrictions have been in place for two years now, making Hong Kong one of the world’s most isolated major cities.
The city’s Legislative Council is set to discuss putting $27 billion HK ($3.46 billion in America) into an anti-epidemic fund which would support businesses and individuals that have been economically impacted by the pandemic and the strict social distancing measures that have been in place.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.