Hotel rooms

Hong Kong makes up to 10,000 hotel rooms available for COVID-19 patients

Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Wednesday that up to 10,000 hotel rooms would be made available for COVID-19 patients as the city experiences a surge in cases that has overwhelmed medical facilities.

The move comes as hospital beds are at 90% capacity and quarantine facilities are full, according to Reuters.

Hong Kong had 6,116 new confirmed cases on Thursday, a daily record and an increase of nearly 2,000 cases from 4,285 cases on Wednesday. With 6,300 preliminary positive cases, the total number of cases since January tops 16,600, Reuters reported.

Authorities said new cases had increased 60-fold this month and added that testing would soon be needed for everyone in the city next month.

“Citywide virus testing is a plan we are considering now,” Lam told reporters, according to the news service.

Despite the record numbers, Lam said the city “can’t surrender to the virus.”

Due to the surge in cases, overwhelmed hospitals have to house some patients in beds outside despite cool and sometimes rainy weather. Most public places, including schools, gymnasiums and cinemas, are closed, Reuters added.

Throughout the pandemic, Hong Kong has recorded around 35,000 cases of COVID-19. Although that’s less than other cities of a similar size, some experts have predicted Hong Kong’s daily cases could be around 28,000 before the end of next month, Reuters also noted.