Hong Kong reports first Covid-linked death in five months

By Reuters   February 8, 2022 | 07:19 pm PT
Hong Kong reports first Covid-linked death in five months
Commuters wearing face masks following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, ride public buses in Hong Kong, China February 8, 2022. Photo by Reuters/Lam Yik
An elderly man who returned a positive test for Covid-19 in Hong Kong died on Tuesday, the city's Hospital Authority said, the city's first death potentially linked with the virus in five months as it struggles with a worsening outbreak.

The 73-year-old patient was chronically ill and had tested preliminary positive for Covid during hospital admission screening, according to a statement from the Authority late on Tuesday.

It was unclear whether his death would be classified as Hong Kong's 214th Covid death as preliminary positive cases have to undergo further tests to be classified as positive.

The Asian financial hub has reported around 16,600 infections since the start of the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, far lower than in other similar major cities.

The Chinese territory announced stringent new coronavirus restrictions and record new infections on Tuesday, while a city-wide shortage of vegetables added to the misery as truck drivers who tested positive were unable to bring them from mainland China.

Hong Kong has stuck to the "dynamic zero" strategy employed by mainland China to suppress all coronavirus outbreaks as soon as possible.

The measures, which are the toughest imposed since the start of the pandemic, are taking an increasing social and economic toll on the city's 7.5 million residents.

Leader Carrie Lam said Hong Kong is not currently able to live with the virus like the rest of the world due to the more than 50 percent of elderly who remain unvaccinated.

Authorities are implementing a vaccine pass due to take effect on Feb. 24 which will require vaccinations to enter most venues including shopping malls and supermarkets.

Around 80 percent of the city's residents have had at least one vaccine but many elderly have been hesitant to get jabbed.

At the same time, authorities have banned gatherings of more than two people, shut schools, playgrounds, gyms and most other venues. Dining in restaurants is banned from 6 pm, while private gatherings at home have also been restricted.

Flights are down around 90 percent due to tough travel restrictions while most people, including the majority of civil servants, are working from home.

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