Hong Kong recorded its first suspected Covid-19 case – involving a traveller from Wuhan, China – on January 22, 2020. Tuesday marks 1,000 days since the date, when health officials first set up a dedicated website to publish Covid-related information and began issuing daily press releases on the number of new infections each day. The case was confirmed the following day.

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Photo: UN.

With Covid-19 banished to the history books across much of the world, Hong Kong retains some of the same harsh restrictions that have been enforced since the early days of the pandemic. Although the controversial hotel quarantine requirement for travellers has been axed, arrivals must still complete several Covid-19 tests in the days after landing. Masks remain mandatory, including in outdoor spaces, as do group gathering limits in public.

HKFP looks back on 1,000 days of the local pandemic in data…

Number of infections: 1,837, 848

Hong Kong has reported over 1.8 million Covid-19 cases since the pandemic began, including both local and imported cases.

Number of deaths: 10,273

A total of 10,273 Covid-19 patients have died, with 10,060 of those deaths recorded since the fifth wave – defined by the government as December 31, 2021, onwards – began.

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

The vast majority of the deaths have been among the elderly and the immunocompromised.

Days that mask mandate outdoors has been in place: 811

Mask Mandate Covid
Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Hong Kong’s rule mandating mask-wearing outdoors came into effect on July 29, 2020. Before that, facial coverings were only compulsory indoors. The government exempted people from wearing masks in country parks, or while conducting physical activity, in May.

Days that restaurants were barred from operating dine-in after 6 p.m.: 218

Hong Kong has enforced bans on dining in at restaurants after 6 p.m. three times.

The first ban began in July 2020 and lasted around six weeks, and was lifted in August. The second ban, put in place in December 2020, was relaxed in February 2021.

The longest ban lasted over 100 days from January to April this year.

Highest number of Covid-19 cases recorded in a day: 76,991

The city recorded 76,991 Covid-19 cases on March 3, the highest ever in a single day.

Hong Kong’s coronavirus outbreak peaked in early March and gradually declined in the weeks after, seeing daily cases fall to four-digit figures towards the end of the month.

Animals – including hamsters – “humanely dispatched” by the government: 2,581

Over 2,580 animals were culled by the government in January after authorities said hamster-to-human transmission of Covid-19 was detected, according to a government press release. They included 2,298 hamsters.

Amount distributed to Hong Kong residents in consumption vouchers: HK$15,000

The government disbursed HK$5,000 in 2021, and HK$10,000 this year, to Hong Kong residents in a bid to boost the Covid-ridden economy.

apple store technology ifc central shopping consumption voucher
An Apple Store at the IFC shopping mall in Central. Photo: Lea Mok/HKFP.

Those who have left, or believed to intend to leave the city, were barred from collecting the second round of the HK$5,000 hand out in this year’s scheme as the territory suffered a period of brain drain.

Lowest monthly arrival figures: 1,800

Hong Kong has recorded drastic dips in visitor arrivals since Covid-19 began due to the city’s strict travel-related restrictions.

The month that saw the fewest number of arrivals was in March this year, when just 1,800 visitors entered Hong Kong. In contrast, 5,860,346 visitors arrived in the city in March 2019.

Number of days beaches were closed: 272

Hong Kong’s public beaches, managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, were shut for 272 days.

Lung Mei beach summer swimming sand
Tai Po Lung Mei Beach. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

The first two closures – from July to November 2020, and December 2020 to April 2021 – lasted over 100 days each. The most recent closure, during the city’s fifth Covid-19 wave, was in place for 49 days from March to May.

Number of people triple jabbed against Covid-19: 5,584,557

Almost 5.6 million people in Hong Kong have received three doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, according to the government’s vaccine dashboard on Sunday. Based on the city’s population of people aged 12 and over, the figure accounts for 80.4 per cent of Hong Kong.

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Hillary has an interest in social issues and politics. Previously, she reported on Asia broadly - including on Hong Kong's 2019 protests - for TIME Magazine and covered local news at Coconuts Hong Kong.