‘Rising trend’ warning as HK reports 6,000 cases

Health officials have warned of a rising trend of Covid-19 infections in Hong Kong’s current wave as the SAR again reported more than 6,000 cases on Sunday.

All but 12 of Hong Kong’s 6,067 new cases were locally transmitted. A further 14 patients died, with more than 10 in critical condition and dozens said to be serious.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said they would stop issuing a figure for preliminary positive cases for now, because there may have been delays in reporting and testing.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the CHP said reported cases, confirmed and preliminary, had increased from more than 4,000 a day between Tuesday and Thursday last week, to more than 10,000 on Saturday.

She said because of this, she thinks existing social distancing measures are still necessary.

Officials said strain was continuing on public hospitals and isolation facilities, with more than 6,000 hospital beds and isolation places filled, more than 90 percent of capacity.

Dr Sara Ho, a chief manager for the Hospital Authority, said talks with private hospitals for cooperation had been positive, and it hopes things will get going as soon as possible.

“The initial directions are [for them to take] care of convalescence patients, so [as to] free up some capacity in the Hospital Authority to take care of confirmed and preliminary confirmed Covid patients,” she told a press conference.

Ho called on patients and their families not to vent their emotions on frontline staff at public hospitals.

She said workers were trying their best to help but given the huge number of patients, there’s just no way to adhere to their needs right away.

The CHP’s controller, Dr Edwin Tsui, said going forward, health officials will send electronic forms to patients undergoing home quarantine, to make it easier for them to report their situation.

“By using SMS message to the cases, they can reply to us through electronic forms. They can fill in the information for us, like the number of confinees, their names and the exact address, so that we can deliver information packages and further communicate with the home confinees more speedily,” he said.

Tsui said asymptomatic patients or those with mild symptoms may be stuck at home for some time, and they should check their own condition regularly.

When asked whether people may have been infected while queuing for Covid tests, Tsui said it’s difficult to ascertain exactly how they got the coronavirus, but the risk would be lower if people don’t gather.

He called on the public to “fight this battle together” and help Hong Kong overcome the epidemic.