HONG KONG—Hong Kong reported a record 26,026 daily COVID-19 infections on Feb. 27, as an outbreak of the highly transmissible Omicron variant overwhelms healthcare facilities and proves hard to control.
The global financial hub has imposed some of the most stringent COVID-19 restrictions in the world to cope with the coronavirus spike, leading some executives to leave and frustrating some residents.
While most major cities seek to live with the virus, Hong Kong has imposed its harshest rules yet, following the mainland with a “dynamic zero-COVID” strategy aiming to eradicate the disease.
Hong Kong’s outbreak has inundated its public health system, triggering a raft of measures including the construction of more isolation and treatment units.
“We are very worried,” Albert Au of Hong Kong’s department of health told a news conference. “Case numbers are still on the rise, and we expect that there will be a rising trend for the foreseeable future.”
Some experts predict the city of 7.4 million will have up to 180,000 cases daily next month.
The city reported 83 deaths on Sunday at nursing homes. Many suffer from chronic illnesses.
Hong Kong is hiring 1,000 temporary workers from mainland China to care for elderly COVID-19 patients at its isolation and treatment facilities, said Law Chi-kwong, secretary for labour and welfare.
Last week city leader Carrie Lam used emergency powers granted under British colonial-era laws to exempt mainland Chinese staff and projects from any licensing or other legal requirements.