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Hong Kong on the brink of total collapse

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam has recently warned that the hospital system of Hong Kong is on the verge of significant collapse, as the region is facing a sharp rise in the cases of COVID-19. He pleaded with residents to follow new strict measures to stop the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, newly reported cases in mainland China have hit levels last seen in April, prompting fears the virus could be making a resurgence there.

“We are on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak, which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly,” Lam said while wearing a face mask in a pre-recorded video message released late on Tuesday.

“What we need now is your cooperation. To protect our loved ones, our healthcare staff and Hong Kong, I appeal to you to follow strictly the social distancing measures and stay at home as far as possible,” Lam added.

As a step of precautionary measure, all residents in the densely packed city of 7.5 million must wear masks when they leave their homes while restaurants can only serve takeaway meals. The gatherings of more than two people and dining in restaurants were banned. Face masks have become mandatory in public places both indoors and outdoors.

It initially had remarkable success in controlling the outbreak – helped in part by a health-conscious public embracing face masks and an efficient track and trace programme, forged in the fires of the deadly SARS virus in 2003.

By June, local transmission had all but ended. But the virus later sneaked back into the city and began spreading. Health officials have been scrambling to uncover the source of the latest outbreak.

Some have blamed exemptions from the usual 14-day quarantine that the government granted to “essential personnel”, including cross-boundary truckers, air and sea crew and some manufacturing executives. The government has since tightened restrictions for some of those groups.

What’s making stemming the new Hong Kong outbreak even more difficult is lack of understanding of where the new locally-transmitted cases are coming from, Lam said.

“The recent emergence of local cases of unknown infection sources indicates the existence of sustained silent transmission in the community,” the government’s guidance released on Monday said.

The new measures, which will be in place for at least seven days, were announced recently after the global financial hub saw a spike in locally transmitted cases over the past three weeks. On Tuesday, Hong Kong reported 106 new coronavirus cases, including 98 that were locally transmitted. Since late January, more than 2,880 people have been infected in the former British colony, 23 of whom have died (Yahoo! news report).

With this “brink of total collapse” scenario, the only thing that was left to make it, even more, worst was the protest, that people in the region think is a great idea during the pandemic.

By Karishma G.

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