Hong Kong, February 18 (Reuters): Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Friday that it would take up to three months to stabilise a worsening COVID-19 pandemic that has overwhelmed health facilities and forced the postponement ofan upcoming leadership election. read more
“Our government needs to focus on the epidemic,” Lam said at a press conference after a week that saw daily infections jump by 60% so far this month. It “cannot be diverted… we cannot afford to lose,” she said.
Quarantine facilities in Hong Kong have reached capacity and hospital beds are more than 95% full as cases spiral, with some patients, including elderly, left on beds outside in chilly, sometimes rainy weather.
The former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997 and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who backs a “dynamic zero-COVID” strategy, has said controlling the spread is Hong Kong’s “over-riding mission”
Lam said Hong Kong’s daily caseload had yet to peak and that plans were being drawn up for a mandatory testing programme to cover the whole of the territory.
A citywide lockdown was not being planned, she said.
Hong Kong reported 3,629 new daily COVID-19 infections on Friday, with an additional 7,600 preliminary positive cases.
Authorities reported 10 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking total deaths to over 240 but still much lower than in other major global cities.
The Hospital Authority said it was aiming to move all patients currently lying outside in open-air beds to indoors by Friday night ahead of an expected drop in temperature to around 10 degrees C (50°F).
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Source: PTI /ANI /Reuters