Hong Kong leader Lam says the city is yet to pass COVID peak

Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a news conference in Hong Kong
FILE PHOTO: Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam speaks during a news conference at Government House in Hong Kong, China March 9, 2022. Peter Parks/Pool via REUTERS

March 12, 2022

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong on Saturday reported 27,647 new COVID-19 cases, with city leader Carrie Lam saying the outbreak has not yet peaked, although recent daily case numbers have leveled off slightly.

Health authorities reported 27,647 new positive cases in Hong Kong on Saturday, up from 29,381 new infections on Friday and 31,402 new infections on Thursday. 198 new deaths have also been reported in the past 24 hours.

“At this moment, we cannot comfortably say that we have passed the peak,” Lam told reporters.

Lam added that fresh food supplies from mainland China have mostly returned to previous levels after some supermarket shelves were emptied by panic buying in recent weeks.

The global financial hub has recorded nearly 650,000 total COVID-19 infections and about 3,500 deaths since the beginning of 2020, most of them in the past two weeks.

Hong Kong, like mainland China, has adopted a “dynamic zero” strategy aimed at containing infections with stringent mitigation measures, even as most other major cities learn to live with the virus. China and Hong Kong’s approach was severely tested by the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.

Hong Kong recorded the highest number of deaths per million people in the world in the week ending March 9, according to data publication Our World in Data. Most were unvaccinated seniors.

A senior Chinese official overseeing Hong Kong affairs, Xia Baolong, who has helped coordinate Beijing’s response to help Hong Kong contain the outbreak, was quoted by the China News Agency as saying the situation is still ongoing seriously and asked the residents to prepare themselves mentally for a “permanent war”.

He added that the government needs to be precise and strengthen interdepartmental coordination.

In response to the remarks, Lam said, “I can assure him… that we are making every effort to combat this epidemic,” while dismissing the view that the Hong Kong government has not worked effectively and in unison to combat the outbreak.

(Reporting by James Pomfret and Hong Kong Bureau; Editing by Michael Perry and Alexander Smith) Hong Kong leader Lam says the city is yet to pass COVID peak

Bobby Allyn

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