Hong Kong Is Fast Approaching Its Covid Isolation Capacity

hong kong

The healthcare system in Hong Kong has become overwhelmed with the latest omicron threat and is nearing capacity to treat the new cases of Covid-19.

Tony Ko, Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority, which manages public hospitals, confirmed that more than 340 Covid cases were being treated in North Lantau Hospital near the airport. If it continues to receive 40 to 50 new cases a day, Ko said at a briefing on Wednesday, it will run out of space in four to five days. The government has opened up 500 beds at the AsiaWorld-Expo convention center in response to the emergency.

Over the past four weeks, the number of infected patients has almost doubled every week, said Carrie Lam, chief executive of the city. As a result, we are exposed to great risk, and Hong Kong’s public hospitals are under immense strain, Lam said.

Hong Kong’s 17 public hospitals have isolation facilities, but they are running out of both space and beds during the winter peak season, with all but three of the wards fully occupied on Monday.

The government also forces health facilities to strain due to its strict standards for releasing Covid patients, who must stay in hospitals for at least ten days and can’t leave until they have obtained two positive tests in a row. Patients still have to go to government facilities for 14 days after they are discharged from the hospital.

In addition to capping restaurant hours, banning flights, and closing gyms and bars, Hong Kong this week imposed far-reaching restrictions over hospital capacity. It is uncertain how the variant’s spread locally will play out because its vaccination rate is among the lowest for developed economies – and because many residents have taken a shot by China’s Sinovac, which is less protective against omicron.

As part of its efforts to allow travel between Hong Kong and mainland China, which has zero tolerance to outbreaks, Hong Kong has maintained some of the world’s strictest virus containment standards.

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