Hong Kong's top scientists urged the government to transition from China's zero-Covid strategy before the next outbreak unless the financial hub wants to be a "closed port forever"
Hong Kong's top scientists urged the government to transition from China's zero-Covid strategy before the next outbreak unless the financial hub wants to be a "closed port forever".
Hong Kong used strict travel curbs to keep the virus at bay for two years but these left Asia's world city increasingly isolated and a deadly Omicron outbreak since January has led to an exodus of residents and businesses fleeing its mounting list of restrictions.
The massive surge in cases has ravaged the city's healthcare system and left it with one of the highest Covid-19 fatality rates in the developed world.
Scientists estimate that around 4.4 million people in densely populated Hong Kong -- or 60 percent of the population -- have been infected so far during the Omicron wave.
Official figures have clocked over a million cases and nearly 6,000 deaths since January.
In line with China, where a zero-Covid strategy has seen snap lockdowns imposed on millions of residents after even a handful of cases are detected, Hong Kong has maintained some of the world's toughest pandemic restrictions.
Beijing began remoulding Hong Kong in its own authoritarian image following massive and sometimes violent pro-democracy protests in 2019, instituting a sweeping national security law to crush dissent.
President Xi Jinping urged China to "stick to" zero-Covid even as several cities forced tens of millions of residents to stay in their homes with cases rising to their highest number since the early days of the pandemic.