Hong Kong Leader Plans to Reopen City After Controlling Latest COVID Outbreak

HONG KONG: Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam mentioned on Thursday it was not the time to elevate a ban on flights from 9 nations together with the United States and Britain, with plans to reopen the town solely after the federal government controls a deepening coronavirus outbreak.

The world monetary hub has a few of the most draconian restrictions in place to fight a surge in coronavirus instances that has seen the town undergo essentially the most deaths globally per million folks within the week to March 7, in keeping with the Our World in Data publication.

Total infections have surged to about 600,000, together with greater than 2,800 deaths – most previously two weeks.

The Chinese territory has had its borders successfully sealed since 2020 with few flights in a position to land and passengers banned from transmitting.

“This is not the time to lift the ban. A lot of people will rush to come back…there will be infected cases and that will add a lot of pressure to our public hospital system,” Lam said.

Her comments come a day after she announced a shift in her government’s approach to tackling the coronavirus, devoting more medical resources to elderly people as infections and deaths climb rapidly amongst the city’s mainly unvaccinated seniors.

Hong Kong’s government had previously focused its resources on identifying, treating and isolating all cases, even those that are asymptomatic and mild, adding pressure on its hospitals and healthcare system.

Until recently, the government said it was focusing its efforts on carrying out compulsory mass testing for Hong Kong’s 7.4 million residents sometime this month.

Contradictory messages from authorities over the scheme and plans for a city-wide lockdown have sparked panic buying by residents, who have been emptying supermarket shelves for over 11 days.

There was now no time frame for the testing, Lam said on Wednesday.

The change in approach came after a top Chinese official said that Hong Kong had to prioritize reducing infections, severe illnesses and deaths.

Hong Kong, like mainland China, has adopted a “dynamic zero” technique that seeks to curb infections with strict mitigation measures. The method has been severely examined by the quick spreading Omicron variant.

China has seen a rise of locally transmitted coronavirus infections reporting 402 for March 9, nearly doubling from the daily count a day earlier.

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