Hong Kong reports 37,529 new COVID-19 cases, 150 deaths


A patient and her parent wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) wait outside the accident and emergency (A&E) department, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Hong Kong , China March 4, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

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HONG KONG, March 5 (Reuters) – Hong Kong reported 37,529 new coronavirus infections and 150 deaths on Saturday as the city clings to a “zero-COVID” strategy despite spiraling cases that have spread across the care homes and overwhelmed health facilities.

Many supermarket shelves were empty again on Saturday, even though the government said there was plenty of fresh food from the mainland and the public should not buy too much.

On Friday, two of the city’s largest consumer store chains began rationing some food and pharmaceuticals to curb panic buying amid fears of a citywide lockdown. Read more

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Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has said there will be no ‘full lockdown’, although many residents are upset and frustrated by what they see as mixed messages and almost daily policy adjustments .

Health authorities said on Saturday that more than 900 nursing homes had been infected. The latest tally of 37,529 cases is down from 52,523 on Friday. That compares to around 100 infections in early February and a three-month streak with no cases before the end of December.

As cases hit record highs, Hong Kong has now implemented its toughest restrictions since the start of the pandemic, with group gatherings limited to two people, masks mandatory and gyms, cinemas and most closed public places. Flights to the city from nine countries are banned.

Government expert adviser Professor David Hui said on Saturday he believed around 15% of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million people were already infected with COVID-19, broadcaster RTHK reported.

The jump in COVID-19 infections has limited the workforce in the healthcare system, as well as for public transport, mall operators, supermarkets and pharmacies.

On Saturday, Hongkong Post announced it would stop providing local courier and parcel services from Monday until further notice, instead focusing on “essential services” as infections rise.

Hong Kong has reported more than 403,000 COVID cases since the coronavirus emerged in late 2019 and at least 1,560 deaths, far fewer than many other cities. Most infections and deaths have been recorded in the past month.

As Hong Kong clings to its ‘zero-COVID’ policy, frustrations in the city are boiling over, workplace morale is hit hard and families are falling apart as increasing numbers of people, especially expats, drop out the global financial center.

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Reporting by Donny Kwok and Anne Marie Roantree; edited by Christian Schmollinger

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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