Health expert doubtful of long term "zero infections” in HK

Local | 7 Jan 2021 12:40 pm

A health expert said he is doubtful that Hong Kong can achieve long term “zero Covid infections”, stressing the key is to speed up contact tracing of infections to prevent outbreaks.

Ho Pak-leung, the head of the University of Hong Kong's Centre for Infection said authorities must act faster once there are isolated cases or super-spreader within our community.

“The key is ‘speed’, authorities will have to take action once they notice the cases to stop it from the beginning before it gets worse,” said Ho.

The microbiologist also quoted reports saying the government will soon set up a command center in Kai Tak, mobilizing disciplined services to help in contact tracing.

It is understood that 100 to 200 personnel will be responsible for tracing the close contacts of the patients, and around 3,000 personnel will be deployed to trace the close contacts of the close contacts.

“However, if there are large outbreaks like the previous dance cluster, more personnel must be mobilized to prevent a delay in contact tracing,” he added.

Meanwhile, infectious disease expert Leung Chi-chiu agrees that the social distancing measures rolled out by authorities are beginning to have an effect, in view of the daily infections in decline.

“We must still stay vigilant as the recent infection number only reflected the infections during Christmas, given it takes one to two weeks for people to get sick, it is stil unsure if there are any infections during the New Year,” said Leung.

Health officials yesterday confirmed 25 Covid cases in the territory. According to reports, the social distancing measures may only be eased once the daily infection number drop to single digits or even zero.



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