Hong Kong has seen the Kovid-19 infections jump over the epidemic record in overseas travelers after easing border restrictions and causing a surge in international flights.
The city reported 106 import cases on Sunday, the first time since record-keeping began in early 2020 that the number has touched three digits. A total of 814 new infections were found, a slight decrease from the two-month high of 851 recorded on Saturday.
Spike, which examines the resolve of authorities to maintain a virus policy lagging over mainland China, is driven by social distance measures and travel restrictions after Hong Kong’s record-setting outbreak earlier this year.
In recent months, authorities have cut Hotel Quarantine in half for seven days, allowing expats to re-enter the city and ease the air suspension system for airlines bringing in people who tested positive for the virus.
The number of daily passenger flights to Hong Kong has doubled to 38 in June, up from 19 in April before further easing, according to data from the Airport Authority and Web-Site.com. Since the earliest days of the epidemic, it was difficult to get a real measure of the number of passengers, with many flights bringing only cargo.
The rise in both total infections and imported cases poses a test to the government, which is currently preparing for the 25th anniversary of the city’s handover to China on July 1. President Xi Jinping, who has implemented a zero-tolerance to the virus on mainland China and has not traveled since the epidemic, could potentially visit the economic center for the occasion.
While outgoing chief executive Carrie Lam says there will be no change in policy for the remaining weeks of her term, incoming leader John Lee has given little indication of their government’s covidit priorities.
Any re-articulation of the strict Covid measures will be met with strong objection from the business community, which has argued that the city’s rules are eroding its status as a global financial center, especially as the rest of the world is exposed.
Some local health advocates believe it is time to prepare the city to move beyond the epidemic. Hong Kong has met with reopening conditions for the rest of the world because most people with recent infections have only mild symptoms, said Dyward Hui, who advises the government on Kovid matters on Saturday’s radio program.
With fewer severe cases and deaths and higher vaccination rates, people should not worry about new outbreaks, Hui said. He cited Shanghai as an example, saying another long period of Kovid Zero is expensive. The city was locked up for two months, resulting in food shortages, limited access to health services and factory production.
About 88% of Hong Kong’s population is fully vaccinated by Sunday. No new deaths were reported, but there were three new severe cases that day. A total of 15 patients with severe Covidi were currently hospitalized for treatment.
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