Residents of Hong Kong are growing increasingly frustrated with the government’s refusal to follow China’s “zero COVID” strategy. The city saw another record number Wednesday. They also bristled at ever-stricter regulations. To test everyone for the virus,
Online learning is being used by schools already. Summer holidays will be moved ahead so that buildings can be used for testing, isolation, and vaccination. Hong Kong has announced that it will continue with its plan to test all its 7.5million residents three times in March.
Every person who tests positive for the “zero COVID-19” strategy must be quarantinedin an institution or government facility for at least 14 days, regardless of their symptoms. This is in contrast to most countries which allow people with mild or non-severe symptoms to stay at home.
Chan Tai-man, a taxi driver, said that everyone knows that we must live with the virus. “Actually, it’s not like they don’t know. They only do what they are told to by the Chinese government.”
Hong Kong’s hospitals are already overcrowded. Construction crews from mainland China have been sent to construct new isolation units. The city is also moving to convert indoor stadiums, hotels, and other quarantine areas, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam stated.
To prepare Hong Kong for mass testing, Chinese medical teams also built mobile testing labs.
Lam said Tuesday night that everyone is now anticipating that there will be a large percentage of COVID-19-infected people in Hong Kong.
We need more isolation facilities to ensure our success.”
Leung Chunkit, a cook, stated that he did not believe the government was ready for universal testing and how to deal with the results.
He stated, “I believe the government should consider expanding hospital manpower and facilities in order to better support the healthcare workers.”
Paul Chan, Financial Secretary, announced a number of measures that will provide relief for residents and small businesses as well as resources to combat the pandemic.
Hong Kong has witnessed record numbers of cases caused by the highly contagious Omicron variant coronavirus, despite keeping it at bay through strict regulations regarding international travel and internal restrictions.
The daily number of confirmed cases rose to over 6,000 last week, and then jumped to more than 7,008 earlier in the week. Hong Hong reported 8,674 cases on Wednesday.
Experts believe that there could be more cases than this, as a result of the analysis of sewage samples.
Lam stated that “we probably haven’t seen the peak of the wave”, so how we manage the next two-to three months will be crucial and essential to contain, but there is no guarantee.”
According to Our World in Data, 68% of Hong Kong’s residents are currently fully vaccinated. Another 10% have had one shot.
China has taken control of entire cities as part of its zero tolerance strategy. They have kept people inside their homes, and provided food and supplies to them during extensive testing and contact trace.
Hong Kong is a former British colony that is now a semi-autonomous area of China. However, there is growing concern among the residents that it will soon go in that direction. The criticism of smaller lockdowns that only affect a few buildings or blocks of a city has been intense.
Hong Kong is governed by the principle of “one country, two system” within China. However, the mainland has been exercising ever-increasing power.
Lam stated that there was no order from the Central People’s Government to lock down and that the current outbreak was “entirely her concern.”
She said, “Our motherland is providing us with all the support we need at this crucial stage.” “But at the end, I am responsible under one country, two system’.”
China reported on Wednesday 90 cases of domestic transmission. Nearly half were in the northern Inner Mongolia region, and 10 in Beijing. Seven new cases were reported by Shenzhen, Guangdong province. This is near Hong Kong.
Guangdong also had 38 cases of imported cases. These were all from Hong Kong, even though strict border controls have effectively stopped travel between Hong Kong mainland and Hong Kong.
Zhong Nanshan, China’s top epidemiologist, addressed the Hong Kong surge on Monday. He said that strict control measures were necessary to stop an increase in the death rate of the elderly.
Mainland China lifted the lockdowns of millions of citizens in cities in the northern and central parts of the country but continues to impose quarantines on those who have reported cases and requires mass testing.
Lam believes that relaxing the zero COVID-19 strategy will further hinder travel between Hong Kong and the mainland. Authorities require at least three weeks of quarantine. Beijing won’t reopen Hong Kong’s border to the mainland until there are zero cases.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Hong Kong has been operating with its most restrictive restrictions on travel, business, and public activity. They have been in place since February 10, and prohibit the gathering of more than two households. Restaurants, hair salons, and religious sites were closed.
These restrictions will be further tightened on Thursday as the government launches a new app that allows for control over access to certain venues.
The app will include the user’s records regarding vaccinations. Only residents who have received at least one shot or those with certain medical exemptions will be permitted to enter places such as supermarkets, malls, and restaurants.
“If Hong Kong continues to follow the zero-COVID policy, and it fails, then Hong Kong will become an island,” stated Francis Lun, Geo Securities’ CEO in Hong Kong.
“In addition, Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre would be affected.”