Hong Kong May Tighten COVID Curbs
HONG KONG – If the increasing number of COVID-19 cases greatly strains the city’s hospital capacity, local health officials said they may consider imposing more stringent social distancing curbs. And if this happens, this may negatively impact office capacity in the Asian financial hub.
Bloomberg reported on Thursday morning (25 August, SGT) that Hong Kong registered 7,884 new COVID cases yesterday, the highest number since the end of Q1 2022.
The higher number of people getting hospitalised have put pressure on Hong Kong’s healthcare capacity. This has led to hospitals reducing non-emergency services and the reopening of community isolation facilities.
Imposing tighter social distancing rules would be viewed as a step back for Hong Kong, which has faced difficulties balancing reopening its borders with mainland China and other countries.
“The current situation is on a rising trend. Of course, we hope to conduct a targeted virus control approach, but we are very worried about the healthcare system’s capacity,” health official Chuang Shuk-kwan told reporters.
“If the pressure on health-care capacity continues, the government – although unwillingly – can’t rule out the chance to tighten some social distancing rules, and that will impact more residents,” added Chuang.
Although COVID cases and the number of infected people getting hospitalised are rising, the number of patients who became critically ill remains low. As a matter of fact, only 11 people are in intensive care and 43 patients are in critical condition as of 24 August 2022.
If Hong Kong introduces more stringent social distancing curbs, it would make it hard to catch up with other rival financial hubs. For instance, Singapore has nearly lifted all of its COVID-related measures.