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China says Hong Kong’s priority is to reduce COVID infections and deaths

COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong
Workers wear personal protective equipment (PPE) at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) isolation facility in Tsing Yi during the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong, China, 8 March 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

March 8, 2022

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong must stick to its “Dynamic Zero” coronavirus strategy, which focuses on reducing infections, serious illnesses and deaths, a senior Chinese health official said as the city prepared for details of a mass testing plan expected this month .

Liang Wannian of China’s National Health Commission, who is in Hong Kong to coordinate efforts to combat a growing outbreak, said the mass testing must be timely, with every detail carefully arranged, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

“Reducing infections, severe cases and deaths is Hong Kong’s most urgent and top priority at this stage,” he was quoted as saying. “After we achieve the first goal, we will move on to the second and third goals.”

Dynamic zero does not mean zero infections with such strong COVID transmissions, Liang said. However, the city should do its best to reduce infections and take steps to stop further transmission.

Liang’s comments come as infections in the Asian financial hub have soared to record highs with around 500,000 total cases and more than 2,200 deaths – most of them in the past two weeks.

Authorities have made conflicting and confusing statements about a mandatory mass testing program and whether it would coincide with a citywide lockdown.

Food prices in the city have skyrocketed and supermarket shelves have been emptied every day for a week as concerned residents stock up amid fears of a possible lockdown.

Hong Kong is expected to report tens of thousands of new coronavirus infections on Tuesday after launching a self-reporting website for people to register if they have the coronavirus on Monday night.

After registering on the government’s website, authorities will try to admit people to isolation facilities if their homes are too crowded, officials said.

(Reporting by Farah Master; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Bobby Allyn

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