Feb 14, 2022 - World

Hong Kong "overwhelmed" by COVID surge

People in line at a coronavirus testing site in Hong Kong on Feb. 12.

People in line at a coronavirus testing site in Hong Kong on Feb. 12. Photo: Louise Delmotte/AFP via Getty Images

Daily coronavirus cases in Hong Kong have increased by about 20 times over the past two weeks, overwhelming the city's hospitals and forcing its government to change its response strategy, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Hong Kong's government said Sunday that it would roll back its policy of hospitalizing all people who test positive for the virus and would instead prioritize hospital beds for children, older people and other individuals with serious infections, according to the New York Times.

By the numbers: Carrie Lam, Hong Kong's chief executive, said Monday that the city reported a record 2,071 infections.

  • New cases are expected to double on Tuesday, as the city identified 4,500 preliminary positive cases Monday.

What she's saying: "The onslaught of the fifth wave of the epidemic has dealt a heavy blow to Hong Kong and overwhelmed the city's capacity of handling," Lam said, per Reuters.

  • "The situation is highly undesirable and the government feels worried and sorry about it," she added.

The big picture: In addition to altering its hospitalization strategy, the semi-autonomous city also plans to offer COVID-19 vaccines to children as young as 3 to help reduce caseloads, according to AP.

  • It also suspended in-class learning for children for another two weeks until March 6.

Go deeper: FDA authorizes new antibody treatment for Omicron

Go deeper