Hong Kong’s Third Wave: Causes, Cases and Measures

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In Hong Kong, everybody is talking about the third wave of coronavirus cases. Here is all you need to know.

 

Since when is there a third wave in Hong Kong?

After weeks of 0 local cases reported daily, Hong Kong saw an increase of COVID-19 cases starting on July 5. That day, a cook in a local restaurant was infected, subsequently causing a cluster infection in an elderly home and other restaurants. A day earlier, a pilot had returned from Kazakhstan and later tested positive for COVID-19. 

As August 5, the third wave had brought more than 2,000 new cases and 34 COVID-19-related deaths.

 

What caused the third wave?

According to our research and local experts, likely causes for the third wave of COVID-19 are:

1. Loopholes in border measures

Three in ten of the imported COVID-19 cases came from sea or aircrew members.

Early May, the government relaxed travel restrictions on travellers from mainland China, Macau and Taiwan under Cap. 599C. Some quarantine orders were cancelled if the traveller fulfilled certain criteria, which also exposed the city to further risk of imported cases.

2. Masks not mandatory

As the situation was improving in Hong Kong (and compared  favourably to a lot of other countries where cases were booming), a lot of residents starting going out more and probably lowered their guard. Without mandatory masks rule, it was hard to ensure everyone was doing enough to prevent new cases

3. Relaxed social distancing policies

Policies were relaxed in May and June. School resumed classes and public gatherings were allowed again. 

 

Number of COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong

For daily updates and news about the current COVID-19  situation in Hong Kong including number of cases, deaths, government policies, as well as global developments, check AD MediLink’s Daily Update.

 

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New government measures 

1. Social Distancing Rules

July 29: No dine-in at Hong Kong restaurants at least one week (only takeout), public gathering limited to 2 people (except for family members of the same household), Hong Kong’s sport premises and swimming pools are shut for at least one week.

July 14: No dine-in from 6 pm to 4:59 am, public gatherings limited to 4 people, 12 types of establishments (amusement game centres, fitness centres, places of public entertainment, beauty parlours, massage establishments, mahjong tin tau premises, bathhouses, party rooms, clubs or night clubs, karaoke establishments) closed.

July 19: 180,000 civil servants work from home.

2. Mask Rule

July 29: Masks are mandatory in outdoor places, except for children under two or for medical conditions (HK$5,000 fine for people found without wearing a mask). No exemption is granted for exercise.

July 22:  Masks are mandatory indoor and in public transport (HK$5,000 fine for people found without wearing a mask).

3. Tighter Border Measures

July 29: Ships without any cargo trade via Hong Kong would no longer be allowed to change their crew in the city

July 22: It was announced that the US and Kazakhstan joined the list of high-risk countries (which already included Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bangladesh, South Africa, Philippines and Indonesia). All Hong Kong residents returning from the US and Kazakhstan will therefore be required to quarantine in hotels rather than at home, and present proof they are free from COVID-19, from July 29.

July 8: Sea and aircrew members are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before entering the city

4. Vaccine Procurement

The government is deciding on buying vaccines developed by researchers at Oxford University and in mainland China.

 

 


DISCOVER OUR TOP READS

1. Where to get tested in Hong Kong: options and costs (also available in Chinese)

2. Quarantine hotels in Hong Kong

3. Is it safe to travel during this pandemic?

4. Travelling (back) to Hong Kong: step-by-step guide


 

Precautions for the third wave

1. Stay vigilant, maintain good personal hygiene (always wear a surgical mask and wash hands frequently) and limit social events.

2. If you suspect that you may have signs of inflection (recent travel history/in contact with confirmed cases), you may get a COVID-19 Test

3. Avoid going to buildings with confirmed/probable cases of COVID-19

4. Keep an eye on the local situation and the latest government policies.

 

What’s Next?

According to various experts including Microbiology expert Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, officials may put Hong Kong on a virtual lockdown if daily cases continue to surge. Until a vaccine is found and rolled-out, wearing a mask, handwashing and social distancing may become long-term measures. 

 

Useful resources in Hong Kong

Quarantine HK Facebook Support Group

Information on quarantine for inbound travellers from the government

COVID-19 Hong Kong Facebook Update and Support Group

 

 

Looking for health insurance? For expert, reliable advicecontact AD MediLink now at hello@admedilink.hk or +852 2606 2668 to receive a free quote. An advisor uniquely trained on your options will answer all your questions.

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This article was independently written by AD MediLink and is not sponsored. It is informative only and not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and should never be relied upon for specific advice.