Hospitals in Hong Kong, China, have reportedly become overwhelmed with COVID cases amid a new surge said to be partly driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant.
Infected patients are said to be receiving treatment outside crowded hospitals even as the Chinese government has demanded “all necessary measures” be taken.
According to Wen Wei Po, a state-owned newspaper based in Hong Kong, President Xi Jinping of China has called on the Hong Kong government to take responsibility and work towards limiting the spread of infections.
Jinping has also asked the Hong Kong government to “mobilise all the forces and resources that can be mobilised”, as well as “take all necessary measures” to bring the situation under control.
Speaking at a media briefing on Wednesday, Sara Ho, hospital authority chief manager (patient safety and risk management), confirmed that the hospitals were overwhelmed, and apologised for the development, especially as it affected the elderly.
She said, “We observed that some patients are waiting outdoors. This is far from satisfactory. We are very sorry for letting the elderly wait outdoors in such unfavourable conditions. That is why we are also trying to explore different waiting areas for them,”
“For the RCHEs (residential care home for the elderly), those residents who attended the accident and emergency department because of non-COVID-19 reasons, after initial assessment, if we find they are stable, we will transfer them, let them rest and let them go back to the residential care home for the elderly.
“At the same time, we will arrange for the CGAT (Community Geriatric Assessment Team) to reassess the patient.
“I hope these measures can decrease the congestion in hospitals and also decrease the risk of nosocomial infection in the hospitals. This, at the same time, can alleviate the congestion in the hospitals.”
Hong Kong is currently experiencing a fifth wave of the COVID pandemic, and over 12,000 new cases were confirmed within the past two weeks.