Connect with us

Coronavirus (Covid-19)

What’s behind Hong Kong’s third wave of Covid-19 infections?

Thaiger

Published

 on 

Hong Kong has had its ups and downs throughout the early phases of the coronavirus pandemic but its reaction was considered a text book response as it contained the virus quickly. But then there was a smaller 2nd wave, and now a 3rd.

Despite being a part of China and sharing a border with the mainland to the north, Hong Kong kept its infection numbers low and was able to avoid overly draconian lockdowns when compared to other parts of China. Now the Hong Kong government officials are warning hospitals that they could face collapse if it doesn’t stem the growing infections quickly, and it’s just had a record high number of new infections in a day.

What's behind Hong Kong's third wave of Covid-19 infections? | News by Thaiger What's behind Hong Kong's third wave of Covid-19 infections? | News by Thaiger

SOURCE: worldometers.info

Hong Kong had its first Covid-19 cases in the last week of January but infection numbers remained relatively low and the spread was controlled quite quickly. Hong Kong had seen it before with that other coronavirus infection, SARS. Between 2002-2004 the world had a short Coronavirus preview. In Hong Kong 1,755 people were infected, 299 died and the virus had a 17% fatality rate.

In March this year Hong Kong had a 2nd wave of Covid-19 infections after overseas students and residents started returning to the territory, leading to an imported spike of new infections.

Hong Kong banned all non-residents from entering from overseas, and everyone who returned was required to undergo a Covid-19 test and mandatory 14 day quarantine. Electronic bracelets were put on new arrivals to track their movements and and make sure they stayed at home. Masks were mandatory and social distancing measures were rigorously applied. It worked and the infection rate quickly dropped.

So what has brought on this 3rd wave of infections? Local health officials believe there are 2 key flaws in the system.

First, many returnees opted to quarantine for 14 days at home – an arrangement that’s common in many countries including the UK – rather than in quarantine camps. But other people in the home are not under any form of restriction, and will still be coming and going.

Then there was the government’s decision to exempt several groups of people from testing and quarantine when they came to Hong Kong. They exempted about 200,000 people, including people arriving from the sea, aircrews and executives of companies listed on the HK stock exchange, from quarantine. At the time the government said the exceptions were needed to ensure “normal daily operations continued” in Hong Kong, or because their “travel was necessary to the city’s economic development”.

Epidemiologist Dr. Joseph Tsang says the exemptions were a significant loophole that increased the risk of infection. The government initially claimed the quarantine exemptions were not to blame, but later admitted there was evidence that the exemptions were, indeed, behind the latest 3rd wave of infections.

Then there was the case, earlier this week, when a foreign pilot was reportedly spotted sightseeing around Hong Kong while waiting for is Covid-19 test results.

A professor of epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong, Benjamin Cowling, says Hong Kong’s experience with quarantine problems could also happen in other countries.

“In the UK, you also have a 14 day quarantine at home, so you would have the same potential issue with leakage.”

“In New Zealand and Australia they have a mandatory hotel quarantine policy, which is a good concept… although there’s the issue of who pays for it.”

“Like Hong Kong, the UK also exempts certain travellers from border rules, including drivers of goods vehicles, seafarers and aircrew.”

Thailand also had a “scare’ when an Egyptian soldier slipped through the quarantine system from an “exemption” allowed by the Thai government. He was found to be Covid-19 positive after leaving the country, but not before wandering around Rayong shopping centres during his brief stay in the country.

There was also the 9 year old daughter of a diplomat who was found to be infected when her family was staying in a condo in downtown Bangkok. Again, the family had been exempted as her father was a diplomat.

Hong Kong had 149 cases yesterday, the most ever in a 24 hour period. In total the SEZ has registered a total of 3,152 Covid-19 cases and 25 deaths.

SOURCE: BBC | Reuters | worldometers.info

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

If you have story ideas, a restaurant to review, an event to cover or an issue to discuss, contact The Thaiger editorial staff.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Coronavirus (Covid-19)2 hours ago

Covid UPDATE Saturday: 14,260 new infections, news briefs

Thailand7 hours ago

Department head predicts Covid-19 could last up to another year

World8 hours ago

Swedish prison hostage situation resolved with pizza

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand10 hours ago

Minister: Foreigners, migrant workers are cared for amid Covid-19

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

“Withhold Intubation” for certain older Thammasat Hospital patients

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

Bang Sue vaccination centre open for expats 60+, under must wait

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Coronavirus News & Updates15 hours ago

“Covid-19” deaths said to cause crematorium in Bangkok to partially collapse

Thailand15 hours ago

Nakhon Sawan farmers make large profits growing fingerroot as Covid cure

Coronavirus (Covid-19)16 hours ago

Leaked document: military arranging private Moderna vaccines

Thailand17 hours ago

Nakhon Si Thammarat arrest drug suspect hiding in jar

Media17 hours ago

19 year old man drowns in a Kanchanaburi river while rescuing his puppy

Thailand17 hours ago

Online registration site up for interprovincial travel permission

Thailand17 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Sandbox tweak, ‘filthy rich’ visa, Chon Buri restrictions | July 23

Phuket17 hours ago

18 infections today in Phuket creeps closer to 90/week threshold

Thailand18 hours ago

BMA plans to open 53 “community isolation centres”

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending