A health official has said that Covid-19 is spreading across the city, as Hong Kong records a second consecutive day of some 800-odd new infections. However, no related deaths were reported.
“We do not rule out further increases [in coronavirus cases],” the Centre for Health Protection’s Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a daily Covid-19 press briefing on Sunday. She added that there had been an increase in sewage samples testing positive for the coronavirus.
“The cases are not [just related to] gatherings in some places… but are across Hong Kong,” Chuang added.
Health authorities reported 814 new Covid-19 infections on Sunday, 16 of which were suspected to be of the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1. A total of 106 cases were imported, the highest number since the pandemic began.
Four more cases linked to a cluster at FLM, a bar in Sheung Wan, were confirmed. After a total of 18 cases were previously linked to a Central bar, Racks City, authorities conducted environmental testing, with a sample taken from a pool table returning indeterminate results.
Two more schools have suspended classes for a week following classroom outbreaks.
According to the University of Hong Kong’s medical faculty, the real-time effective reproductive number for each Covid-19 case rose to 2.03 on June 5, the most up-to-date figure available.
A value higher than one suggests that each infected patient will go on to infect more than one person on average, meaning the number of cases may increase exponentially over time, the university explained.
Authorities have also expanded Vaccine Pass requirements to government specialist clinics and designated health centres. From Monday, patients must have received three doses of a Covid-19 jab, or show a negative result from a polymerase chain reaction test result taken within the previous 48 hours, to access services.
NGOs previously criticised the arrangement, saying it would be inconvenient for those with disabilities – and who were unvaccinated – to travel to testing centres and obtain a negative result.
‘Open your borders’
Meanwhile, the vice chairperson of the International Chamber of Commerce has become the latest figure to call on Hong Kong to relax its Covid-19 quarantine measures.
Speaking on an RTHK radio show on Monday, George Cautherley referred to a recent comment made by Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who said that Hong Kong was not simply replicating mainland China’s zero-Covid approach and had a “high degree of autonomy” in its policies.
“It’s good to hear her saying we have a high degree of autonomy over this,” Cautherley said. “Because I think that’s something international business wonders: are we subject to whatever Beijing says we must do about keeping our borders open or closed.”
“I think most international businesses would say: open your borders as soon as possible. Adopt live with Covid as virtually the whole of the rest of the world is doing,” he added.
While Hong Kong has loosened its Covid-19 travel restrictions, the requirement for incoming travellers to spend one week in a designated quarantine hotel still makes the city’s policy among the strictest in the world.
Support HKFP | Code of Ethics | Error/typo? | Contact Us | Newsletter | Transparency & Annual Report