What does Hong Kong do to escape the fierce 5th wave of COVID-19?
Notably, before that, this special zone was always in the top of the best pandemic control areas.
The outbreak in Hong Kong caused the death toll to skyrocket, the health system was overwhelmed, and made many people question how the authorities responded to the current epidemic.
Currently, the Hong Kong government is still applying a “no COVID” strategy like mainland China. However, on March 17, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam hinted that Hong Kong might ease some restrictions to maintain its status as a global financial hub.
According to medical experts, with the number of infections fluctuating around 30,000 cases per day out of a population of 7.4 million, Hong Kong needs to come up with a clear disease response strategy, learn to live with the virus. instead of trying to remove it.
In recent weeks, Hong Kong has been the place to record the death rate from COVID-19 per million people is the highest in the world, more than 24 times that of Singapore. Hong Kong health officials say nearly 90% of deaths in this fifth outbreak are unvaccinated people, most of them over 60 years old.
According to experts, this would probably not happen if Hong Kong authorities encouraged people to practice vaccination and make more effective use of medical resources in dealing with the pandemic.
The conflicting messages from the Hong Kong government as well as the restrictive orders that have severely disrupted business activities and damaged the economy of the special zone over the past two years have made businesses and residents feel uncomfortable. comfortable.
“Hong Kong is definitely not ready to resume normal operations amid this fifth outbreak, but let’s see if we can be better prepared for the restoration of that normalcy,” he said. Gabriel Leung, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, said.
Mr. Leung added that Hong Kong needs to decide whether it will continue its “no COVID” policy or try to live with the pandemic, treating COVID-19 as an endemic disease. According to the latest research from the University of Hong Kong, it is possible that about a half of the residents of the special zone have been infected with COVID-19.
According to experts, even if the Hong Kong government decides to maintain its “no COVID” policy with mass testing and widespread tracing, it will eventually have to shift to adapting to living with the virus. . The most important measure for Hong Kong right now is to increase the vaccination rate from 80% to over 90%, while protecting the most vulnerable groups, especially the elderly. Currently, only 56% of those over 80 have been vaccinated.
Dr Siddharth Sridhar, an expert in microbiology at the University of Hong Kong, said: “Future outbreaks are likely to be less severe as people gain immunity against the virus from vaccination. This gives us the opportunity to open doors and establish more reasonable travel restrictions than before.”
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Hong Kong has taken the toughest measures to prevent the spread of the disease. Epidemiologist Ben Cowling said it is possible to gradually relax social distancing measures, such as banning gatherings of more than two people in public places, closing most crowded places and banning restaurants. Eating and drinking activities after 6pm.
Hong Kong can also follow Singapore’s example “Three to six months, when all those distancing measures are eased, individuals will have to take responsibility for their own risks and the government won’t have to roll out policies to the whole population.”
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