According to the New York Times database, the number of new cases in Hong Kong has increased by 821 percent in the last two weeks. Many patients wait for treatment at Hong Kong public hospitals’ emergency rooms, and isolation wards at hospitals have run out of beds. The elderly, children, and infants must wait outside.
In recent weeks, public hospitals have been overburdened.
Feb 27, Hong Kong was battling to contain the Omicron outbreak, with more than 26,000 illnesses and 83 deaths.
A Facebook post also shows that the emergency room of Queen Elizabeth Hospital is already full of bodies wrapped in silver plastic bags. Because these bodies were all positive for COVID-19, and the hospital’s morgue was full, the hospital had to place the body at room temperature.
As Financial Times reported on Feb 26, Covid-19 had grown rapidly in less than two months. More than 80,000 confirmed cases have been reported in the fifth wave of the pandemic, which has yet to reach its height.
With only nearly 10,000 isolation beds and construction teams hurrying to build temporary facilities with at least 70,000, authorities’ task to isolate everyone testing positive with COVID is seemingly impossible. According to researchers at the University of Hong Kong, a third of the population might be isolated by mid-March, with the territory’s “fifth wave” outbreak peaking at over 180,000 cases each day.
To reduce the overcrowding of hospital beds and isolation wards, the Hong Kong officials announced to relax strict testing and isolation requirements, allowing some children who tested positive to remain at home rather than being separated from their parents and hospitalized.
They added that people should only go to the hospital in case of having serious symptoms so that more room is available for medical emergencies.
Although Hong Kong has adopted China’s zero-COVID policy, the pandemic situation in Hong Kong continues to worsen.