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Total lockdown not ruled out as Covid-19 cases surge to 1,514

12 February 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap

Health officials a citywide lockdown may be considered if the cases continue to mount (File)

Health authorities say further tightening or measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus may be considered if the surge in cases continues unabated.

Dr Edwin Tsui, controller of the Centre for Health Protection, made the statement at today’s press briefing, during which another record-high 1,514 new cases were reported.

Asked what could trigger a citywide lockdown, Dr Tsui said there is no specific number of cases that would prompt the government to take this extreme measure. He said the government will actively review the situation and implement corresponding measures.


“We are stepping up measures gradually,” he said.

Other moves may also be considered, like locking down a bigger area in each particular district instead of just targeting one residential block, like what happened in Kwai Chung Estate earlier this month.

Another option is to extend the vaccine pass to public transportation, a measure that the government has already submitted to the Executive Council for approval.

Tsui also said that because testing centers are currently overwhelmed, the government has adjusted the criteria for issuing mandatory testing. Residents of a housing block will only be tested now if there were at least two units with two confirmed cases found in the building.


Previously, a single confirmed case could trigger mandatory testing for the entire building where the patient lives.

At the same time, the Hospital Authority will further relax the discharge criteria for Covid-19 patients currently in hospital.

According to HA’s Dr Larry Lee, a patient may now be eligible for discharge if (1) the Ct value in two specimens submitted is 30 or more, (2) the patient tests positive for antibody and returned a negative test result; or (3) has a negative test result and the Ct value of the sample is at least 30.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Dr Lee said a study at City University showed that if the Ct value is 30 or more, the virus could no longer be “cultured”, indicating the patient is no longer infectious.

Tsui says the WHO has told doctors not to treat Covid-19 as just another type of flu

Asked if the government should just relax measures instead and treat Covid-19 as just a form of flu, Dr Hui said this was against the advice by the World Health Organization.

He said the WHO has cautioned doctors against this because the coronavirus keeps mutating, and whatever new form it takes could again present danger to humans.

“So let’s listen to what the WHO is saying,” he said. “We should not underestimate Covid-19.”


Dr Tsui said the government is looking at getting help from mainland authority to help boost the city’s testing capacity to around 200,000 per day, and provide more community isolation facilities for patients with mild or no symptoms.

He also said that due to the increasing number of cases, patients who test positive may need to wait a few hours before being sent to the hospital.

If someone is isolating at home, he said everyone in the household must wear masks. They should carefully disinfect their home, and must always store bleach and other disinfecting solutions for this purpose.

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As much as possible, the person isolating should remain inside a room and avoid any contact with other members of the household. If a separate room cannot be provided, the person should be moved to a quarantine hotel.

At the moment, Tsui said 2,300 people are spending quarantine in eight designated hotels.

Meanwhile, 2,000 units in three phases of Penny’s Bay will soon be vacated to provide room for patients with mild or no symptoms.


This is expected to release pressure on three treatment centres and 14 public hospitals currently catering to some 2,000 Covid-19 patients, and open up space for those who have tested positive and told to remain at home for the meantime.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said that of today’s confirmed cases, five are imported, and the rest were all locally acquired.

Seventeen had the mutant strain of the Delta variant while the remaining 1,497 are likely Omicron carriers.

She also mentioned that at least seven more elderly homes have been hit with a coronavirus outbreak. In one care home on Boundary Street in Kowloon, 17 residents and six workers have tested preliminary positive.

Dr Lee also reported more medical staff in various hospitals testing positive for Covid-19. He said about 50 staff have tested preliminary positive, with about 20 others, along with 60 patients, being classified as close contacts.

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