I mentioned a few posts ago that Hong Kong recorded fewer than 100 cases of Covid-19 for 3 August. Here’s some analysis from our correspondent, Helen Davidson:
For the first time in two weeks Hong Kong has reported fewer than 100 new cases of Covid-19 in a day.
On Monday evening health authorities said 80 people had been diagnosed with the virus, with the infection source unknown for 24 of them.
Hong Kong is experiencing its third and worst wave of the outbreak since the virus first appeared there in January. Driven largely by community transmission, 2,342 of Hong Kong’s 3,590 total cases have been recorded in the past month.
The centre for health protection said they would observe the trend over the coming days before making any determination about whether the infection rate was declining.
Strict social distancing measures, which were due to expire on Wednesday, have been extended another week. Pools, beaches, gyms, and various clubs will remain closed, and restaurants will continue to be limited to takeaway services between 6pm and 5am, with a maximum of two people at a table the rest of the time. The government had banned all dine in services last week but quickly reversed the decision after community backlash.
Citing anonymous sources, the South China Morning Post said mainland Chinese experts deployed to Hong Kong last week are assisting the construction of two temporary Covid-19 hospitals, and increased testing. Photos published in Chinese state media, Xinhua, show hundreds of beds separated by temporary dividers in an exhibition hall of the AsiaWorld-Expo centre, which opened Saturday. According to the SCMP, this will be expanded with another 400 beds in a second hall.
The high number of infections has threatened to overwhelm Hong Kong’s public hospital system. Unlike other countries, which allow, encourage, or even require Covid-19 patients to recuperate at home if they have mild systems, Hong Kong sends everyone to a hospital isolation bed.
As of Monday there were 1,243 patients in the 1,256 beds across 19 hospitals and one community isolation facility.
Of those, 43 people are critical, 49 in serious condition, and 1,151 stable.
Data from the hospital authority shows the occupancy rate of the isolation wards rose from about 60% to above 80% during this latest wave. Individual bed occupancy increased by about 50% in the same time. Current rates are around 75%.