Daily COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, which are struggling with a fast-growing Omicron wave, peaked at 2,000 for the first time today as the public health system struggled to cope.
Meanwhile, things rose sharply in New Zealand, another government that had kept COVID-19 low in previous increases, but which is now coming to terms with the much more transferable Omicron variant.
Omicron maintains a foothold in high containment settings
Hong Kong is struggling with a test lag, but today it reported 2,071 cases with about 4,500 preliminary positives, according to South China Morning Post. A temporary laboratory set up by a company on the mainland is expected to start tomorrow to help speed up testing.
The occupancy rate of isolation beds in public hospitals has reached 90% capacity, and infections among hospital staff are increasing the pressure on the health system. In another development, health officials announced that they were postponing the resumption of personal schooling for another 2 weeks.
Elsewhere, New Zealand reported a record 981 cases today, with the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying the increase is not surprising and that the country will remain in Phase 2 as long as cases remain between 1,000 and 5,000 a day, according to Radio New Zealand.
Ardern said the country can expect to see an unprecedented increase, but its vaccination efforts will help it avoid a large number of serious illnesses and deaths.
More global headlines
- New Zealand is among the places where protests over COVID-19 measures, modeled after the truck convoys in Canada, have taken root. Others include Europe and Australia.
- Vietnam will tomorrow begin allowing international flights to resume, according to Reuters. The country had early success in blocking flights, but later experienced COVID-19 waves. About 98% of the country’s population has received at least two vaccine doses.
- South Korea is the latest country to give the green light for fourth doses of COVID-19 vaccine to high-risk groups.
- Global COVID-19 totals today rose to 412,913,570 million cases and 5,822,052 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins online dashboard.