February 24, 2024

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HONG KONG (AP) — Hong Kong will postpone the election of its next leader until finally Could 8 as it grapples with a worsening coronavirus outbreak with countless numbers of new bacterial infections everyday.

Hong Kong chief Carrie Lam stated Friday the election will be delayed six weeks from March 27 simply because keeping the polls as at first scheduled would pose “public wellbeing risks” even if a committee of only 1,462 individuals is concerned.

Hong Kong’s chief is elected by a committee made up of legislators, associates of numerous industries and professions, and professional-Beijing representatives this kind of as Hong Kong deputies to the Chinese countrywide parliament.

Various candidates together with film producer Checkley Sin and Titus Wu, a previous member of Hong Kong’s most significant professional-establishment political bash, have verified their intention to run. It is not very clear if Lam will operate for reelection.

Lam also reported there ended up designs to test the total town of Hong Kong for COVID-19, but denied that it would be put underneath a strict lockdown even as the town pursues a “zero COVID” strategy.

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“Mandatory tests and a full city lockdown may not want to go hand in hand. It is dependent on the true predicament,” she reported. “In our case, having examined the exceptional circumstance in Hong Kong, we are going to possibly just go for universal screening of every person, but tests more instances.”

She cited as an case in point Macao, which has analyzed its overall population twice for the virus.

Well being authorities claimed Thursday that the city’s hospitals had been at 90% ability and that its isolation amenities ended up full. Hong Kong’s everyday new instances exceeded 2,000 for the initially time on Monday. On Friday, over 3,600 new neighborhood bacterial infections had been claimed.

Hong Kong has aligned itself with mainland China’s stringent “zero-COVID” policy that will involve quarantining incoming vacationers, whole lockdowns, intensive get in touch with tracing and mass tests of millions of persons.

Lam has trapped to the exact tactic even with the city’s greater populace density, bigger incomes and additional provider-oriented economic system than in mainland China. Past week, the whole upscale Discovery Bay neighborhood in Hong Kong was purchased to bear testing immediately after authorities found traces of the virus in its sewage.

This story corrects that various people today have claimed they will run in the election, not just one.

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Individuals lie in clinic beds waiting for clinical procedure at a short term shelter outdoors the Caritas Professional medical Heart in Hong Kong, China, on February 16, 2022.

Leung Man Hei | NurPhoto | Getty Photos

Hong Kong desires to secure its wellness-care method, which is underneath huge stress proper now due to a spike in coronavirus conditions, a well being professional informed CNBC on Friday.

Hong Kong is into its fifth wave, driven by the additional transmissible omicron pressure. Situations have surged sharply, from just over 100 new situations for every working day at the start of February, to a file of 6,166 new cases on Thursday.

“Fundamentally, in Hong Kong right now, what we want to do is to shield the integrity of the health and fitness technique,” explained Gabriel Leung, dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong. “The health and fitness process in Hong Kong at present is less than great worry.”

Authorities have blamed the surge on the “extreme transmission speed” of the omicron variant, and reported that the “tsunami” of information circumstances has “significantly exceeded” the city’s ability for cure, tracing, tests and isolation.

Hospitals are facing “huge stress,” the govt mentioned this week. The occupancy price at public hospitals was at 92% as of Feb. 18, data from Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority showed.

In accordance to media studies, there have been scenes of people huddled on beds remaining in the open outside the hospitals, as facilities grew to become overwhelmed.

Leung instructed CNBC’s “Road Indicators Asia” that the city desires to sluggish down the speed of the present-day surge.

“The only way you can slow it down now is definitely to go and decrease additional the people from mixing with every single other and from shifting about in the metropolis,” he stated.

“So regardless of whether you call that a lockdown, or regardless of whether you simply call that improved or stepped up general public well being and social actions, I will not definitely intellect — the jargon is not the significant issue.”

Healthcare employees donning private protecting equipment (PPE) attend to a affected person exhibiting Covid indications at a temporary triage place up coming to the unexpected emergency division at the Caritas Medical Center healthcare facility in Hong Kong, on Wednesday, Feb. 16, 2022.

Bertha Wang | Bloomberg | Getty Pictures

“What we need to have to do desperately is to make sure that we safeguard the integrity of the clinic method, these that we reduce people today from more deteriorating if they actually need to have help in the hospitals,” he ongoing.

Hong Kong Main Executive Carrie Lam said Tuesday there have been no plans for a citywide lockdown.

“The instant response of the Hong Kong SAR Federal government … is to enhance the capacities at many sections of this anti-epidemic energy, and we are performing this,” she stated.

“I would have to say it incredibly clearly that we have no strategies for any popular town lockdown as

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