Hong Kong rolled out six new designated clinics on Tuesday for treating Covid-19 patients with mild symptoms. Separate hotlines were also set up at all Covid-19 clinics to help prioritise services for patients at higher risk.

The Hong Kong Jockey Club Shau Kei Wan clinic has been converted to a designated Covid-19 facility as the city struggles to battle the fifth wave of the pandemic. Photo: Ben Marans/HKFP.

Starting from Tuesday, five out-patient clinics in Wan Tsui, Wang Tau Hom, Lam Tin, Shek Kip Mei and Tsing Yi, as well at the Madam Yung Fung Shee Health Centre in Yuen Long will stop providing general services and will only treat Covid-19 patients with “relatively mild symptoms such as “fever, cough and sore throat,” the Hospital Authority announced in a media release on Monday night.

This has brought the total number of designated Covid-19 clinics to 23, and together they will be able to handle up to 4,300 clients a day.

These clinics will operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Sunday, including public holidays. Patients are required to call and make reservations before visiting.

Lau Ka-hin. Photo: Video screenshot, via RTHK.

The government has introduced a designated fleet of some 300 taxis to transfer patients to and from these medical facilities. However, around 30 drivers have been infected with the coronavirus as of Tuesday.

‘Care Booking Line’

The Hospital Authority has also introduced a separate set of telephone booking lines for “high-risk patients” to make reservations at the designated clinics.

The service – named “Care Booking Line” – targets the elderly aged 70 or over, children aged five or under, women pregnant beyond 28 weeks and patients with compromised immune systems such as organ transplant recipients, said the authority.

On top of that, the Hospital Authority said a nursing team from the Patient Support Call Centre would also proactively refer concerned patients for medical consultations at Covid-19 clinics.

The Hospital Authority’s chief manager Lau Ka-hin said at Monday’s daily briefing that those processed via the new hotlines will take up half of the 4,300 available slots each day at the clinics.

Online consultation system

Meanwhile, a new online system set up by the Hospital Authority for patients under quarantine at home or at isolation facilities to report their symptoms and medical conditions began operations at 6 p.m. on Tuesday.

Lau said at Tuesday’s Covid-19 press meeting that confirmed patients would receive an SMS message linked to the registration system, which will allow them to input their personal data, test results and conditions.

According to Lau, the system will provide information according to the details submitted by users and will recommend patients seek urgent medical help if they demonstrate severe symptoms.

He said the online platform provides “an additional way to look for assistance” for patients in the community or at isolation centres.

On Tuesday, the city reported 27,765 new Covid-19 infections and 289 more deaths. In all, Hong Kong has recorded 733,785 cases and 4,279 deaths as of Monday.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.