Hong Kong health experts warn the city ‘is on the brink of a FOURTH WAVE of COVID-19 infections’
- Hong Kong reported 11 new infections on Monday, bringing the total to 5,125
- The city successfully tackled the first two rounds of cases earlier this year
- But it was struck by a new wave from early July, seeing the tally rising fivefold
- Experts now warn a looming fourth wave could strike the Asian financial hub
A fourth wave of coronavirus infections could soon hit Hong Kong, the city’s health experts have warned.
The Asian financial hub had impressive success in tackling the disease with just over 1,400 infections and seven deaths by the end of June.
But it was hit with what officials called ‘a third wave’ from early July, with the infection tally rising nearly fivefold and the death toll surpassing 100 within three months.
Now the city is ‘on the brink of a fourth wave’ of COVID-19 cases caused by untraceable local infections, infected inbound travellers and the approaching flu season, reported South China Morning Post citing experts.
A fourth wave of coronavirus infections is looming in Hong Kong, the city’s health experts have warned. The file photo shows people walking on a street in Hong Kong on August 29
Now the city is ‘on the brink of a fourth wave’ of COVID-19 cases caused by untraceable local infections, infected inbound travellers and the approaching flu season, experts say
Hong Kong was widely praised for its timely and effective efforts against the coronavirus outbreak after it quickly stamped out its first and second wave of the coronavirus cases earlier this year with only seven deaths.
But the densely populated city of 7.5 million was struck by a surge of record-high cases in early July, a spike described as ‘a third wave’ by the officials who believe the virus is spreading again.
Hong Kong authorities had re-imposed tough social distancing measures, shuttering many businesses and making face masks on public transport mandatory.
As daily infections gradually dropped to single-digit levels in recent weeks, the city’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam declared the third wave was ‘under control’.
In a letter posted on her Facebook, the Chief Executive said in late September: ‘After a hard-fought battle of more than two months, Hong Kong has basically contained the third wave of the COVID-19 epidemic which started in early July.’
The city has also relaxed social-distancing measures, such as allowing up to four people gathering in public, and reopening businesses such as beauty salons and gyms.
As daily infections gradually dropped to single-digit levels in recent weeks, the city’s pro-Beijing leader Carrie Lam (pictured) declared the third wave was ‘under control’
Hong Kong officials Monday have reported 11 infections, including four local transmissions, bringing the total of COVID-19 cases to 5,125. People are pictured at a market in Hong Kong
This file picture taken on February 4 shows people boarding a plane at Hong Kong airport
But health experts worry that eased travel restrictions could trigger another surge of coronavirus cases and causing a fourth wave of the contagion.
‘I am a bit worried that our fourth wave might start sooner than we were hoping,’ said Professor Benjamin Cowling, head of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) school of public health, told South China Morning Post.
It comes as officials Monday have reported 11 infections, including four local transmissions, bringing the total of COVID-19 cases to 5,125.
The death toll also rose to 105 as of Monday, with elderly people accounting for most of the dead.
Professor Gabriel Leung from HKU’s faculty of medicine told the Post that a fourth wave of the outbreak ‘can be very large’ if more sick travellers slipped past health checks while local infections continued to spread.
David Hui, a respiratory medicine expert at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, also warned about a looming new outbreak as more people started going out and socialising, according to Xinhua.
Health experts worry that eased travel restrictions could trigger another surge of coronavirus cases and causing a fourth wave of the contagion. A wet market fish stall worker is pictured displaying seafood for sale at a market in North Point in Hong Kong on October 4
Other health experts believed the fourth wave would be triggered by imported cases and the looming flu season. The file picture taken on July 9 shows commuters travelling on a tram with a notice that refers to the coronavirus outbreak on a street in Hong Kong
The city had impressive success in tackling the disease with just over 1,400 infections and eight deaths. In June, the city only detected a total of 21 cases. A male citizen wearing a face mask has his body temperature checked outside a polling station in Hong Kong on July 12
The coronavirus, first discovered in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, has infected more than 35.13 million people globally and claimed 1,035,670 deaths.
Wuhan yesterday put four inbound air passengers under medical observation after identifying them as asymptomatic coronavirus patients – those who carry the bug but do not show symptoms.
The four individuals had flown into the Wuhan Tianhe International Airport on Friday from Jakarta, and were yet to be diagnosed formally, a statement said.
Wuhan had not reported any regular or asymptomatic COVID-19 cases since August 7 when a Chinese citizen flying from Tajikistan was confirmed to have been infected.
Over the weekend, a Wuhan sports centre which was turned into a 1,100-bed makeshift coronavirus hospital is seen packed with thousands of spectators during its first game since the city’s COVID-19 outbreak.
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