Hong Kong reports 31,008 new Covid cases and 153 deaths as mass testing looms

Hong Kong reports 31,008 new Covid cases and 153 deaths as mass testing looms
Hong Kong clings to China’s ‘dynamic zero’ Covid strategy as case surge overwhelms hospitals

Hong Kong reported 31,008 new cases of Covid infections and 153 deaths on Sunday as the city faces one of the worst surges in the number of infections.

The China-ruled city is clinging on to a “dynamic zero” Covid strategy as the surge in cases overwhelmed hospitals, isolation centres and hospitals. According to health experts, 15 per cent of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million residents have already been infected with Covid.

The city’s chief secretary John Lee asked residents to not worry about a looming mass testing scheme likely to be implemented soon.

The chief secretary’s remarks came as supermarket shelves were left empty for the seventh day in a row, with anxious residents stocking up on several products. Authorities maintained they were ensuring a steady food supply.

With soaring cases, Hong Kong has implemented a plethora of draconian restrictions, which bars public gatherings of more than two people. The city has also sealed its borders and banned flights into the city from countries, including the US and Britain.

Under strict rules, parents in the city were being separated from their babies who tested positive for Covid. Many restaurants and stores have been shuttered with main districts eerily quiet and few residents out in typically busy neighbourhoods.

Speculation over a city-wide lockdown and daily tweaking of Covid rules had led to widespread chaos among residents this past week, with the government trying to reassure people.

To stop panic buying, supermarket chain ParknShop on Friday announced limits of five items per customer on staples such as rice, canned food and toilet paper.

Carrie Lam, leader of the metropolis, has said the city will not have a full-blown lockdown when mass testing takes place.

Hong Kong has recorded more than 470,000 Covid cases so far. Most of the city’s roughly 1,800 deaths were reported in the past two weeks, many of them being unvaccinated elderly people.