Six more weeks before infection drops to zero: HKU expertLocal | 13 Sep 2020 8:27 pm
It may take another four to six weeks before Hong Kong sees zero daily infections again, a HKU expert has warned.
Ivan Hung Fan-ngai, chief of infectious disease from University of Hong Kong’s faculty of medicine, said an estimated 40 to 50 hidden cases have yet to be identified as the territory-wide coronavirus test ends tomorrow.
“The virus still exists in the community and we have to continue with infection control measures,” Hung said in a radio program.
“Even after we record zero infections, we’ll need to observe a prolonged period to ensure the community is virus-free.” He said the city should continue to step up its daily testing capacity to around 15,000 to 20,000 samples a day before a potential fourth wave of infections during winter.
“The key is to procure more test machines, hire more lab technicians and add more means of tests,” he said.
“At the same time, tests at borders have to be done well. All travelers must be tested at least twice - the first time when they arrive in Hong Kong and the second one during quarantine.”
Another HKU expert Ben Cowling echoed Hung’s view and asked citizens to adapt to the “new normal” to contain the epidemic.
“We may have to implement population-wide social distancing measures intermittently over the next year, until hopefully, vaccines can provide the herd immunity that we need to allow us to get back to something like the normal life as we knew it before 2020,” he said.
He cited a research that a Covid-19 patient can spread the virus to 2.2 people on average.
While a number of patients only suffer from mild or even no symptoms, symptomatic ones can already be infectious before they fall sick, contributing to an extensive transmission.