Hong Kong logs nearly 35,000 COVID-19 cases as hospitals and mortuaries reach full capacity
When the pandemic started, the whole world was thrown into chaos. However, as it’s progressed, many developed nations have decided to live with the virus, while Hong Kong has adopted a zero-COVID-19 approach.
This has led to Hong Kong becoming increasingly isolated from the rest of the world and put it on the receiving end of quite a bit of scrutiny, especially from the business community, labeling the approach unsustainable and impractical.
Hong Kong is now in the middle of its fifth wave, seeing case numbers reaching record highs. The city has also imposed some of its harshest social distancing rules yet in an attempt to contain the outbreak.
On Sunday, Hong Kong saw 26,026 COVID cases, with the death toll rising to 83.
Meanwhile, Dr. Liang Wannian, the leader of the National Health Commission’s COVID-19 response expert team in Wuhan when the virus hit the mainland, is coming to Hong Kong to help with the whole situation.
Hong Kong has seen 190,000 infections in total, but 180,000 were recorded in February with the highly-transmissible omicron variant around.
On Monday, Hong Kong saw a new daily high of 34,466 new COVID-19 cases and 87 deaths.
According to the hospital authority, public mortuaries and other facilities for storing the dead are at full capacity because of the outbreak.
Hong Kong has around 340,000 domestic helpers, most of which come from the Philippines or Indonesia. Many families in the city depend on these helpers for housekeeping, elder and child care and other duties. The minimum salary for this job is HK$4,630 (US$593) and, in most cases, includes accommodation.
The city is still seeing cases of domestic helpers being fired for getting COVID-19. Hong Kong’s labor department has said that if employers are caught doing this, they can be fined up to HK$100,000 (US$12,797).
“The government appeals to the employer to be compassionate and consider granting … (helpers) paid sick leave," the department said. It also said that employers should look into providing “free and suitable accommodation as well as free medical treatment."
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