In the face of an outbreak of COVID-19 among prisoners, Hong Kong infected inmates move to an isolation facility as the city struggles to eradicate a record number of cases by implementing China’s “zero tolerance” strategy
HONG KONG – Faced with an outbreak of COVID-19 among prisoners, Hong Kong is moving infected inmates to an isolation facility as the city struggles to eliminate a record number of cases by implementing China’s “zero tolerance” strategy.
The Department of Corrections said Thursday that the Sha Tsui facility on Lantau Island was designated to quarantine infected prisoners whose numbers are expected to grow.
Seven prisoners were tested positive for COVID-19, while the number of confirmed cases in the South China financial center of about 7.5 million people hit 4,285, double the daily average reported earlier in the week.
Health facilities in Hong Kong are beginning to overflow, and the city’s Caritas Medical Center was forced to treat patients in beds outside the hospital. Others waited in tents to be locked in.
People who test positive are required to quarantine either in hospitals if they have severe symptoms, or in government-run facilities for mild or asymptomatic cases.
China’s leader Xi Jinping has ordered the central government to provide Hong Kong with resources to stabilize the outbreak, including rapid antigen testing, medical expertise and supplies.
China has dampened major outbreaks through its strict “zero tolerance” policy, which involves quarantining incoming travelers, total shutdown, extensive contact tracing and mass testing of millions of people.
Hong Kong’s leader, Carrier Lam, has stuck to the same strategy despite the city’s greater population density, higher incomes and more service-oriented economy than in mainland China. Last week, the entire exclusive Discovery Bay district of Hong Kong was ordered to undergo testing after authorities found traces of the virus in its wastewater.