Experts warn Hong Kong’s COVID-19 cases could top 30,000 per day

Experts warn Hong Kong’s COVID-19 cases could top 30,000 per day
People queue at a makeshift nucleic acid testing centre for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Central district in Hong Kong, China, February 9, 2022. REUTERS/Joyce Zhou

The backstory:

  • Hong Kong is aiming for a “dynamic zero infection” situation. And, there have been some question marks in people’s minds when people talk about what this actually means.
  • In fact, there’s a letter to the editor in South China Morning Post (SCMP) entitled “Why Carrie Lam struggles to define what ‘dynamic zero Covid’ means.”
  • But mainland China state media outlet Xinhua News Agency made official commentary earlier this month to try to clear up any confusion. It explained that the “dynamic zero infection” does not mean trying to get zero cases. Instead, It aims to identify new infections as early as possible so that the virus can be contained.
  • “According to previous experience, fluctuating outbreaks on the mainland have been suppressed effectively since April 2020 under the paramount principle of ‘dynamic zero infection.’”
  • Over 80% of the city’s residents have had at least one vaccine shot, but the elderly remain hesitant.
  • Hong Kong’s approach to the virus has come under intense scrutiny, especially from the business community, with some saying that it isn’t sustainable and jeopardizes the city’s financial hub status. But Lam has said that, for the time being, the city’s approach will not change, especially because over 50% of the elderly population aren’t vaccinated.

The development:

  • On Thursday, Hong Kong reported 986 new coronavirus infections, with three elderly people dying from coronavirus this week.
  • Health experts from the University of Hong Kong have also said this week that the city could see 28,000 new cases a day by the end of March, with deaths rising to 1,000 by June.
  • The experts added that Hong Kong could only return to a “zero-covid" state if the entire city were locked down for around two to three months.
  • With the case surge and strict COVID-19 rules, like vaccine passes, vaccinations have started to increase recently, especially among the elderly population.
  • But, even though the city is seeing some of the harshest social distancing rules right now, activity tracking from Apple Inc. shows that, on average, activity has dropped 34% over the past week. This is compared to the early days of the pandemic in 2020, which saw a 63% decline in activity.

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