Hong Kong Covid Infections Slow as City Ends Self-Testing
Bloomberg — Hong Kong’s number of daily Covid cases dropped to the lowest in almost two months as the city ends a voluntary citywide testing exercise that has uncovered more than 2,000 infections.
Officials from the Department of Health reported that 1,921 cases per day were being recorded, with 18 imported and 65 related deaths. Residents have reported 2,202 Covid infections via rapid antigen tests distributed to households last week as part of the government’s three-day program, Albert Au, principal medical and health officer at the Department of Health, said at a briefing.
Hong Kong appears to be on track for recovery from the worst pandemic since it began. The most recent drop in daily infections, which was the lowest since February 15, shows that Hong Kong continues to make progress towards a full recovery. The city, which maintains a Covid Zero strategy to align with China’s policy, hopes mass self-testing will help speed up the process of eliminating the last remaining transmissions as infections fall from a peak of more than 55,000 last month.
Almost 70% of the people who tested positive at home and reported to authorities don’t have symptoms, compared with less than 40% before the three-day campaign began.
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If the self-testing campaign doesn’t show a significant increase in infections, officials will be more confident that most social-distancing measures, including a ban on dining-in after 6 p.m., can be gradually relaxed after the Easter holiday. The city’s outgoing Chief Carrie Lam will announce a detailed three-stage plan to ease the current curbs in the coming days, she said at a separate briefing on Sunday.
According to the chief executive, the test exercise is not likely to affect the announcement of last month’s relaxation of social disincentives measures. It is set for April 21, with cases trending downward.
Lam, who has been holding a daily press conferences on Hong Kong’s Covid updates for a month, said on Saturday that she would end the briefings when daily cases fall to three digits.
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