Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam on Wednesday said that the HKSAR government, after being informed by mainland experts, believes it should focus on reducing deaths, critical cases and infections at the present stage in combating COVID-19.
Lam said at a press conference that increasing the treatment capacity of hospitals and concentrating on treating confirmed cases will facilitate the efforts to prevent progression of the disease in confirmed patients.
She announced that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital will be converted to a designated hospital for COVID-19 cases, and that about half of the beds in the general wards in public hospitals will be for COVID-19 patients.
The HKSAR government has requested the central authorities to send mainland medical teams to help treat critically ill patients at the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Center and the community treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo, Lam said.
Lam said that COVID-19 patients will be treated according to their condition, especially the elderly, under the triage system.
On the prevention and treatment of critical cases, she noted that Hong Kong's Hospital Authority has successfully procured a substantial amount of two oral drugs, one of them being already in use and the other expected to arrive in Hong Kong next week.
Lam stressed that the HKSAR government will not adopt the so-called "lying flat" attitude to tackle the epidemic and will work to protect the life and health of Hong Kong people from COVID-19 in line with the requirements of the central authorities.
She said that the HKSAR government is planning and preparing for a mass compulsory testing, but this is not a priority.
The time to start the measure will be determined by taking into account the epidemic situation in Hong Kong, the experts' advice, and how to achieve the best results, according to her.
Also on Wednesday, a team of mainland health experts led by Liang Wannian, head of the COVID-19 response expert panel under China's National Health Commission, inspected Shun Tin Estate, a public housing estate in Kwun Tong, to understand on the ground the cordon-off and compulsory testing exercise there. The team also learned about the anti-epidemic work in public housing estates, such as the enhanced disinfection and cleaning work at the common areas.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong registered 25,991 new COVID-19 cases and 195 deaths at public hospitals in the past 24 hours, official data showed.