The coronavirus and its variants have been a continual challenge to people all over the world. While researchers and scientists are on the lookout for newer treatment strategies, various restrictions are still in place in many areas of the world.
Stringent Restrictions Amid Covid Spike In Hong Kong
Various restrictions have been lifted in several countries including mask mandates, quarantine restrictions, travel restrictions, proof of vaccinations. Self-isolation restrictions for symptomatic and asymptomatic patients are also lifted off in some places.
Fully vaccinated and boosted individuals tend to develop less severe infections than unvaccinated individuals. Vaccinations also help in controlling the spread of the disease.
Though the number of daily infections is showing a steady decline in the majority of the places worldwide, Hong Kong stands apart by reporting a daily average of approximately 6000 cases.
The increase in daily cases has also resulted in flooding of hospitals, with 90% of the hospital beds filled. This is despite strict restrictions already being in place for travel and public activity. The vast surge in cases has been attributed to the highly transmissible variant of coronavirus, omicron, and the high unvaccinated population.
What is making the situation worse is the long list of patients waiting outside hospitals, in the cold winters, thereby getting exposed to other sorts of infection, these patients were then shifted to other treatment centers. The extremely high number of cases has also led to various healthcare facilities’ testing backlogs. The mortality rates however remain low, in comparison to the infection rate.
Hong Kong is one of the very few places to have had five waves of coronavirus, the fifth and the latest being the most devastating one. Politics along with the increasingly false misconception about the vaccine side effects may have contributed to the increasing omicron cases, especially amongst the elderly, vulnerable population.
Businesses in all forms have been disrupted for the past few years owing to the stricter restrictions, the same remains the case with public gatherings and meetings and international travel. Leisure places like nightclubs, restaurants, pubs, malls have been ordered to be closed. With tighter restrictions along with the closure of businesses, the chances of unemployment will be more. Even food services have also been disrupted.
Various effective steps have been laid down by the government right from the beginning in efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus. However, though these preventive steps worked in the earlier waves, they did not turn out to be effective in recent coronavirus waves, owing to the omicron spikes and cold weather.
The recent restrictions include postponing of elections, preponing of vacations in schools, temporary conversion of hotels and sports facilities to quarantine centers for individuals tested positive, closure of many businesses and public facilities.
Universal mass testing for all individuals along with the distribution of N95 masks are amongst the other plans to be enforced by the government.
The worst affected are the low-income groups who are more prone to the disease, yet have no access to either isolation centers or are able to get vaccinated.
With a nationwide lockdown being ruled out, living with the virus is the only option left with the country’s people. With support from China, the situation may stabilize soon in Hong Kong. More and more populations should be encouraged to get vaccinated and boosted, more and more isolation units and treatment units should be set up.
People with only mild symptoms should isolate themselves at home. With many people already vacating the city and many companies closing off, it is the unified duty of the government, healthcare officials, and residents to fight the virus to stabilize the situation and revive the economy lost with the pandemic.
The government should take utmost care of the frontline workers whose health is very much crucial for the nation’s health. Moreover, the government should take stern steps to avoid exploiting a particular society’s poor and middle-class family during this pandemic.
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