Hong Kong intends to return to its “dynamic Covid-zero” approach of contact tracing and compulsory testing after the fifth wave of Covid-19 is over, a top government medic has said.

A man scanning the LeaveHomeSafe app at the entrance of a PARKnSHOP supermarket in Hong Kong. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

“The government is still adopting the dynamic Covid-zero strategy. At the present moment, the epidemic is quite serious, so at the present stage we aim at early detection of all the cases at first, and put them under isolation, as well as put their household contacts under isolation,” Albert Au, the Centre for Health Protection’s principal medical and health officer, said on Tuesday.

Albert Au, principal medial and health officer from the Centre for Health Protection. File photo: RTHK, via video screenshot.

Au said he thought that, with continued social distancing measures, the outbreak will recede in the coming months: “After the number of cases has decreased to a certain number, when the number of cases drops, then we can adopt more aggressive strategies on contact tracing as well as compulsory testing so as to increase early detection.”

The government’s strategy has buckled under the sheer number of infections in recent weeks, with many forced to quarantine at home, and the LeaveHomeSafe contact tracing app no longer notifying users of encounters with positive cases.

On Tuesday, Hong Kong reported 32,597 new Covid-19 infections and 117 deaths. Since the pandemic began, the city has recorded 205,780 confirmed cases and 1,013 deaths.

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