Patients showing Covid-19 symptoms lie on beds outside the Accident and Emergency Department at Caritas Medical Centre in Hong Kong, China.
Hong Kong’s coronavirus battle intensified on Thursday as authorities reported new cases had multiplied by 60 times so far this month and media reported that testing would become compulsory for everyone in the global financial hub from March.
Hospitals are overwhelmed with some patients, including elderly, left lying on beds outside in chilly, sometimes rainy weather, in shocking scenes that prompted an apology from authorities in the Chinese controlled city.
Schools, gyms cinemas and most public venues are shut. Many office employees work from home. But, many residents are fatigued by the harsh restrictions imposed to protect them against the pandemic, even as most other major cities in the world adjust to living with the virus.
Health authorities reported a record 6,116 confirmed cases on Thursday, up from 4,285 the previous day, with a further 6,300 preliminary positive cases. That takes the total since January to more than 16,600. They reported 24 new deaths.
The jump in cases is the biggest test yet of the city’s “dynamic zero-COVID” policy, but leader Carrie Lam said this week the city “cannot surrender to the virus.”
Photo – EPA-EFE/MIGUEL CANDELA