May 19, 2022

Hong Kong is sticking to zero-Covid, no matter what the cost

Hong Kong is sticking to zero-Covid, no matter what the cost

Hong Kong is sticking to zero-Covid, no matter what the cost

Jessie Yeung
17 February 2022

How to contain a runaway Covid outbreak, in a city committed to keeping cases at zero?

That’s the question now facing Hong Kong officials, as daily infections top 4,000, and previous fail-safe systems begin to buckle under the strain of their own uncompromising rules.

For almost two years, Hong Kong had relied on a combination of stringent quarantines and sophisticated track-and-trace efforts to isolate positive cases, keeping the city comparatively virus-free — even as the rest of the world began to loosen restrictions.

But those measures no longer appear sufficient in the face of the latest Omicron wave, which officials have described as a “tsunami.”

Hong Kong’s insistence on sending all positive cases to hospital, irrespective of the severity, has led to at least one hospital being so overwhelmed it was forced to move patients on gurneys outside, lining them up in the parking lot.

Meanwhile, a raft of tightened restrictions and targeted lockdowns have led many experts and residents to question the sustainability of such an approach as the city enters the third year of the pandemic.

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