søndag 6. mars 2022

Hong Kong bet on zero-Covid. Now it's facing a 'preventable disaster'

Morgues are nearly at capacity, hospitals overwhelmed and, as fears grow of a citywide lockdown, panicked shoppers have stripped supermarket shelves bare. Hong Kong -- once lauded as a zero-Covid success story -- is now battling a deadly outbreak reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic, despite having had more than two years to prepare.

With locally transmitted cases surging past 312,000 in the city of 7.4 million in just the last two weeks, hospitals and embattled health workers have been stretched to breaking point. The numbers are likely to be far higher due to suspicions people are not reporting their positive test results for fear of being separated from families and put into government isolation facilities. Although the rampant surge has been driven by the less deadly Omicron variant, Hong Kong's deaths are also rising -- particularly among the city's unvaccinated elderly. According to Our World in Data, which uses data from Johns Hopkins University, Hong Kong reported more deaths per million people in the week to March 3 than any country or territory.