Hong Kong public hospitals are running out of beds again amid the fifth and worst Covid-19 wave, with 10 hospitals exceeding their capacity on Sunday.

The average occupancy rate of inpatient beds at 16 public hospitals soared to 104 per cent on Sunday, according to the Hospital Authority – the most crowded since mid-January.

Caritas Medical Centre in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong during the fifth-wave Covid-19 outbreak. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

A total of 3,527 people sought medical help at accident and emergency (A&E) rooms across the city on Sunday, while 1,043 patients were admitted to medical wards through A&E departments.

The Prince of Wales Hospital in Sha Tin was the most overloaded, with an occupancy rate of 140 per cent, followed by Caritas Medical Centre in Sham Shui Po, which had an occupancy rate of 129 per cent.

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The newly designated hospital for Covid-19 patients, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, also reported a medical inpatient bed occupancy rate of 128 per cent.

Other hospitals that saw over 100 per cent occupancy for inpatient beds were Queen Mary Hospital, Tseung Kwan O Hospital, United Christian Hospital, Princess Margaret Hospital, Yan Chai Hospital, Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital and North District Hospital.

Caritas Medical Centre in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong during the fifth-wave Covid-19 outbreak. Photo: Kyle Lam/HKFP.

Data from the Hospital Authority showed Hong Kong’s public hospitals were stretched beyond their limits two months ago, when the average hospital bed occupancy reached 107 per cent on January 3 and January 4. That earlier overcrowding may be a result of the winter surge period, coupled with rising numbers of Covid-19 infections as the fifth-wave outbreak began.

On Monday, Hong Kong reported 26,908 Covid-19 cases and 286 deaths. The fifth wave of infections, which began in January, has pushed the city’s caseload from around 12,600 to beyond 700,000 in just a little over two months. Meanwhile, the death toll – which stood at 213 before the current wave – multiplied around 18-fold to almost surpass 4,000.

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Kelly Ho

Kelly Ho has an interest in local politics, education and sports. She formerly worked at South China Morning Post Young Post, where she specialised in reporting on issues related to Hong Kong youth. She has a bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong, with a second major in Politics and Public Administration.