All of Hong Kong’s inhabitants of seven.5 million individuals will likely be required to bear COVID-19 testing in March, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam stated Tuesday.
The order comes as the town contends with its worst Omicron variant-driven outbreak. About 5,000 new infections have been reported a day since February 15, the Associated Press reported.
Lam stated that the town’s inhabitants should be examined thrice in March, and testing capability will likely be elevated to 1 million or extra a day.
“Since we have a population of some 7 million people, testing will take about seven days,” she stated.
The obligatory testing is Hong Kong’s newest transfer aimed toward containing the outbreak that’s threatening to overwhelm the town’s hospitals. Authorities from the Chinese mainland additionally deployed epidemiologists, well being staff, and different medical assets to the town final week, the AP reported.
While some international locations are starting to work towards reaching the endemic part, or when individuals can reside with the virus moderately than utterly eradicating it, Hong Kong is basically using China’s “zero-COVID-19” coverage.
Unlike the endemic part, the coverage is aimed toward totally eliminating the virus utilizing powerful measures like enacting strict quarantine necessities for vacationers, ordering companies to shut doorways, and imposing lockdowns on residential estates for mass testing when circumstances are discovered, per the AP.
The semi-autonomous Chinese metropolis’s present surge commenced in the beginning of the yr as Hong Kong documented virtually 54,000 infections and 145 fatalities in consequence.
People in Hong Kong who check optimistic for COVID-19 should both be admitted to a hospital or a quarantine facility, and well being officers stated final week that isolation services had been full and hospitals had been at 90 p.c capability.
Lam stated Tuesday that the town was “working very hard” to construct extra of the quarantine services after calling them “severely inadequate.”
While some components of mainland China have seen complete cities placed on lockdowns, Lam stated that imposing an analogous measure in Hong Kong is “not realistic” and never into account.
The new testing measure will add to Hong Kong’s already strict COVID tips, together with flight bans from sure international locations and a prohibition on consuming at eating places after 6 p.m., which will likely be prolonged till April 20, in keeping with the AP.
“This is not good news to the sectors affected, but really at this stage of the pandemic we have no choice but to take these measures,” Lam stated.
The college yr in Hong Kong will even conclude early and the standard summer time break interval will likely be moved up from July by August to March and April so that faculty can be utilized for testing, quarantining and vaccination services, the AP reported.
Update 2/22/22, 10:15 a.m. ET: This story has been up to date with extra data and background.