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Hong Kong leader says fifth wave of COVID has ‘overwhelmed’ city’s capacity

HONG KONG, Feb 14 (Reuters) – Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Monday the “onslaught” of coronavirus infections in the global financial hub has dealt a heavy blow and overwhelmed her ability to cope with the Epidemic as Daily Cases Rise to Record Highs.

Daily infections have increased 13 times in the past two weeks, from around 100 cases in early February to more than 1,300 on February 13, as authorities scramble to control the worsening outbreak.

Lam said his government would coordinate with Chinese authorities to deal with the “aggravating situation” after China said it would help the city with testing, treatment and quarantine.

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“The onslaught of the fifth wave of the epidemic has dealt a severe blow to Hong Kong and overwhelmed the city’s treatment capacity,” she said, adding that the surge had lengthened the time before patients infected can access the isolation facilities.

“The situation is highly undesirable and the government is worried and sorry about it,” she said.

Its top officials would coordinate with the central government to improve Hong Kong’s testing and isolation facilities, and secure resources ranging from rapid antigen kits and protective gear to fresh vegetables, she said.

The Chinese territory reported 1,347 new infections on Sunday, down from Saturday’s record, but the spread with 2,000 additional suspected cases threatens its overwhelmed health system, authorities said.

Medical experts warn the city could see 28,000 daily infections by the end of March, with unvaccinated older people of particular concern. Read more

Hospital beds for COVID-19 patients in the global financial hub are already 90% full, according to data from the city’s hospital authority, while isolation facilities are also nearly full. Read more

Hong Kong is prioritizing the elderly, children and people with serious conditions in hospitals, said Larry Lee, chief director of the city’s Hospital Authority.

Lam said authorities would “spare no effort” to implement the “dynamic zero” coronavirus infection strategy in Hong Kong, which, like mainland China, seeks to curb outbreaks as soon as they occur. , unlike many other places trying to live with COVID.

Hong Kong has recorded around 24,000 infections and more than 200 deaths, fewer than other similar major cities.

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Reporting by Farah Master. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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