Hong Kong’s number of daily Covid cases dropped to the lowest in almost two months as the city ends a voluntary citywide testing exercise that has uncovered more than 2,000 infections.
Health officials said on Sunday that there were 1,921 new daily cases, 18 of them imported, and 65 virus-related deaths. Residents have reported 2,202 Covid infections via rapid antigen tests distributed to households last week as part of the government’s three-day program, Albert Au, principal medical and health officer at the Department of Health, said at a briefing.
The latest drop in daily cases, the lowest tally since Feb. 15, suggests Hong Kong is staying on course for a recovery from its worst outbreak since the pandemic began. The city, which maintains a Covid Zero strategy to align with China’s policy, hopes mass self-testing will help speed up the process of eliminating the last remaining transmissions as infections fall from a peak of more than 55,000 last month.
Almost 70% of the people who tested positive at home and reported to authorities don’t have symptoms, compared with less than 40% before the three-day campaign began.
If the self-testing campaign doesn’t show a significant increase in infections, officials will be more confident that most social-distancing measures, including a ban on dining-in after 6 p.m., can be gradually relaxed after the Easter holiday. The city’s outgoing Chief Carrie Lam will announce a detailed three-stage plan to ease the current curbs in the coming days, she said at a separate briefing on Sunday.
The chief executive said the relaxation of social-distancing measures that was announced last month and is scheduled for April 21 is unlikely to be affected by the testing exercise, with case counts trending down.
Lam, who has been holding a daily press conferences on Hong Kong’s Covid updates for a month, said on Saturday that she would end the briefings when daily cases fall to three digits.
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