Hong Kong Allows Home Quarantine for Patients With Latest Covid Versions
What’s new: Hong Kong threw in the towel on centralized quarantine rules as authorities continued to ease Covid-19 restrictions and new infections rose past 4,000 cases a day, the highest level since early April.
The city will no longer require people with the most highly infectious Covid subvariants to isolate at government-run quarantine facilities. It will allow patients with omicron subvariants BA.4 or BA.5 and their close contacts to quarantine at home as long as they have enough bathrooms, said Chuang Shuk-kwan, an official at the Health Department’s Center for Health Protection, at a briefing Thursday.
Most people infected with BA.4 or BA.5 have symptoms such as fever and sore throat. More than half of the confirmed cases were disclosed voluntarily after quick testing showed positive results. A nucleic acid testing review takes two to three days, so mandatory isolation in quarantine centers “is not particularly effective,” Chuang said.
Due to the high infectivity of the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, it is difficult to stop the spread of the virus even with the highest level of quarantine and restrictive measures, Chuang said.
The background: The number of infections continued to rise in Hong Kong, which reported 4,375 new cases Thursday. The numbers are doubling about every two weeks, and the upward trend shows no sign of stopping, the health authorities said.
The subvariants have become dominant strains circulating worldwide. Western countries are concerned about the ability of BA.5 to escape the antibody responses among people who are fully vaccinated or have previously been infected with the omicron BA.1 and BA.2 variants.
Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use. To read the full story in Chinese, click here.
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