Hong Kong COVID-19: City sees 55,000 cases as confusion around mass testing conditions continue

Hong Kong COVID-19: City sees 55,000 cases as confusion around mass testing conditions continue
Patients wearing face masks rest at a makeshift treatment area outside a hospital, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Hong Kong, China March 2, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The backstory:

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • According to the hospital authority on Monday, public mortuaries and other facilities for storing the dead are at full capacity because of the outbreak.
  • Just two months ago, the region was living relatively virus-free. And now, cases surged to over 30,000, with the city seeing over 32,000 cases and 117 deaths on Tuesday.

The development:

  • Hong Kong saw over 55,000 new infections on Wednesday. The city also announced 117 deaths, mainly consisting of people from care facilities. Additionally, 64 patients are in critical condition.
  • There’s still a fair bit of chaos and confusion around how strict and how long lockdown will be when the city goes through mandatory mass-testing in March.
  • On Wednesday afternoon, in front of a lot of imported food, Hong Kong’s leader Carrie Lam told people to stop panic buying and that China would help out with the food and medical supplies.
  • She also ruled out a “wholesale” city lockdown but didn’t clarify any further on how the city would do the mass testing, when, the timeframe, etc. She did say, though, that there wouldn’t be enough beds for those who have to isolate after testing positive but insisted the Hong Kong government is working on it.

You drive the stories at TMS. DM us which headline you want us to explain, or email us.