Hong Kong reports most daily Covid cases in over 4 months

Hong Kong reported 6,513 new daily Covid cases on Sunday, the highest number since March 31, as authorities reopen facilities used during the height of the last outbreak to ease pressure on hospitals and other facilities.

There were 6,276 local cases and 237 brought in by travelers, health officials said at a briefing Sunday. The rising numbers, topping 6,000 for the past four days, are taxing the densely populated city that still requires every infected patient to isolate in a government-sanctioned facility if they don’t have their own bedroom and bathroom at home.

The new facilities are needed as Penny’s Bay, the isolation mainstay for the city, is nearly 80% full with 6,500 occupants, the government said. It has also been reducing non-emergency services at hospitals to free up beds and manpower.

The Asia World Expo, an exhibition and entertainment venue that was turned into one of Hong Kong’s largest isolation facilities during the pandemic, will provide an additional 200 beds starting this week. The Kai Tak facility began operating on Aug. 19, offering an additional 2,700 units, including some for large families. It is already housing about 60 patients.

The rising number of infections and the stress caused by trying to isolate many of them hasn’t translated into a commensurate increase in severe disease and deaths, however. There were an additional eight patients in critical condition, bringing the city’s total to 43, and eight new serious infections, for a total of 30, reported on Sunday. Three people died.

Woo Ying-ming, commissioner of the city’s Independent Commission Against Corruption, was among those to test positive, the agency said in a statement on Sunday.