HK will stick to dynamic zero-case strategy, has asked central govt for help: Lam
Published: Feb 15, 2022 02:11 PM Updated: Feb 15, 2022 02:03 PM

Hong Kong coronavirus Photo:VCG
Hong Kong coronavirus Photo:VCG

Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday that the government has mobilized everything it can to fight the epidemic, including the arrangement of isolation facilities and testing kits, saying that it is not an option to surrender to the COVID-19 virus. Her remarks come as the city recorded 2,071 new confirmed cases and about 4,500 preliminary positive cases on Monday amid the latest COVID-19 flare-up.

Lam said at a press meeting on Tuesday that the government planned to use the completed public housing estates as COVID-19 quarantine centers, including two blocks of Queen's Hill Estate and Heng King House of Lai King Estate, which could provide about 3,000 flats in total.

Those who test preliminarily positive will be placed in these facilities, while their family members can be placed in the same isolation unit, Lam said, noting the government is doing its best to find suitable places for quarantine.

Eight or nine isolation hotels will be converted into community isolation facilities, but they are still not enough, said the government chief.

The government will talk with the hotel industry on Tuesday to provide up to 10,000 hotel units and has already contacted universities to discuss the use of student dormitories as isolation facilities.

Lam said the SAR government has asked the central government for help to significantly increase the number of testing kits in Hong Kong. She noted that the antigen rapid testing kits have been purchased in large quantities to be distributed to high-risk groups, such as those in areas where sewage tests are positive. It is estimated that one million kits will be used every day, said Lam.

The government has already procured more than 100 million kits and will first distribute them to staff of residential care homes for the elderly on Tuesday and increase the frequency of testing from once every three days to once a day.

Lam said that Hong Kong has no plans for a large-scale lockdown and will insist on a "dynamic zero COVID-19 strategy," reiterating that surrendering to the virus is not an option.

Hong Kong Hospital Authority has given priority to the care of patients with serious diseases, children and the elderly, but a large number of patients who test positive or test preliminarily positive are still waiting at home to be transferred to isolation facilities.

The Transport and Housing Bureau has contacted the taxi industry to arrange special services for those who need to seek medical attention while waiting for quarantine at home. The drivers will also be provided with quarantine guidelines.

To ensure the daily needs of the residents, there are about 8,000 cross-border drivers in place to deliver fresh vegetables and other food from the mainland to Hong Kong. However, as many drivers have been infected with the virus, the government is planning to recruit more drivers to transport materials, said the government chief.

Starting from Tuesday, children aged 3 to 4 in Hong Kong can also receive the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, according to the government.

Global Times