Hospital services

Hong Kong suspends some hospital services as coronavirus cases rise

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) – Hong Kong has suspended some non-emergency services at public hospitals as a surge in Covid-19 patients strains the healthcare system, with authorities warning the city’s virus situation continues to deteriorate.

Some public hospitals have started cutting elective procedures, including endoscopies and elective surgeries, to redirect resources to caring for the growing number of Covid patients, said Hospital Authority chief executive Sara Ho, during a briefing on Tuesday July 12.

If the situation continues to worsen, more elective operations and some day services will also need to be adjusted, she said.

Hong Kong is facing a resurgence of the virus which has pushed the number of patients in public hospitals to around 1,000.

Health officials have warned that the daily number of infections could climb to 6,000 in two weeks, from 2,558 new local cases reported on Tuesday, with 300 people hospitalized each day.

“These measures are aimed at mobilizing both the workforce and the beds to accommodate and anticipate the upsurge of pandemic patients,” Ms Ho said.

The warning of a rise in cases comes with changes from the new administration to the financial hub’s virus strategies.

The government plans to introduce a health code system that would bring the city closer to zero Covid measures used in China, which prioritizes eradicating infection at high social and economic cost.

It is also working to launch tracking wristbands for Covid patients self-isolating at home to ensure they do not leave their premises.