HONG KONG • Hong Kong opened a temporary field hospital with 500 beds yesterday to house stable Covid-19 patients as the city battles a new wave of virus infections.
The financial hub had been a poster child for tackling the coronavirus, with local transmissions all but ended by early summer.
But since last month, the pathogen has returned, with some cases brought in by the tens of thousands of people who were exempted from a mandatory quarantine imposed on most arrivals.
More than 2,000 new infections have been detected since the start of last month - 60 per cent of the total since the virus first hit the city in late January.
The new makeshift hospital, set up at the city's AsiaWorld-Expo exhibition centre near the airport, will take in Covid-19 patients aged from 18 to 60. "Our goal is to triage the patients from the community and provide them with appropriate treatment and hospitalisation arrangement," Dr Larry Lee from the Hospital Authority told the media.
Dr Lee said that around 20 to 30 patients are expected to be admitted on the first day. The arriving patients will go through X-rays as well as blood, saliva and heart tests.
If found unstable, patients will be sent to hospitals, while stable ones will get treatment and be put under medical observation at the facility.
The city recorded 125 new cases yesterday, the 11th day in a row above 100, with total infection numbers rising to 3,396.
The death toll has risen from seven to 31 since last month.
China has offered to send mainland testing staff to the city to carry out "large-scale nucleic acid testing".
The National Health Commission of China said in a statement that it had set up a team comprising 60 clinical laboratory staff and an "advance unit" would arrive in the city today.