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Hong Kong at verge of witnessing worst ever Covid outbreak: Report

Hong Kong has been facing its worst-ever Covid-19 outbreak, as the people are suddenly witnessing a severely overstretched healthcare system, depicting China's unsuccessful "zero-Covid" policy.

Hong Kong at verge of witnessing worst ever Covid outbreak: Report
Representative Image (Image Credit: ANI)

Even as Covid-19 flooded the world, Hong Kong believed that its pandemic policies had kept the city safe, Al Jazeera reported. 

In the wake of the imposition of national security law, Hong Kong pursued a zero-tolerance plan that aimed to keep the virus at bay by keeping people apart. 

The city barred visitors, imposed the world's longest and most stringent quarantines on travellers, and pursued aggressive contact tracing tactics with sudden lockdowns and mandatory tests. 

Those who tested positive were swiftly admitted to the hospital, and their close contacts and household members were quarantined as well. Yielding two negative tests in quick succession was the only path to release, as per Al Jazeera.

The media outlet also reported that the vaccination rates were less than ideal among the general population and paltry among the elderly, a problem in a place where 1.27 million people, or roughly 18 per cent of residents, are 65 and older.

The latest data shows about 40 per cent of the population 70 and older has had at least one dose of the vaccine. Just 13 per cent of that age group have had three shots, Al Jazeera reported. 

China's zero-Covid strategy has adversely affected the city. The zero-Covid strategy has failed in the face of the latest Omicron wave. 

Hong Kong's insistence on sending all positive cases to hospitals, 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, reported CNN. 

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. 

On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping took the unusual step of directly calling on Hong Kong officials to take "all necessary measures." Xi's intervention has raised fears that further restrictions similar to those seen in mainland China, including a possible citywide lockdown, could soon follow, reported CNN.

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