Top microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung on Friday hit out at "some government officials" who he said are underestimating the coronavirus outbreak, warning that the number of Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong could suddenly jump to 2,000.
In an exclusive interview with RTHK, the Hong Kong University professor said no one should take the epidemic lightly.
“Some officials are still very optimistic about the epidemic. They think it’s no big deal. As a Chinese saying goes, they won’t cry until they see a coffin,” he said.
“They think Hong Kong is doing a better job than overseas countries. This is very wrong,” he said.
Yuen said what the government is doing is not enough to make Hong Kong safe, adding that more coronavirus tests should be done.
He said he believes that the number of Covid-19 cases in Hong Kong could exceed 1,000 very soon, as there are invisible transmissions of the virus in the community, and that people are dropping their guard.
“It’s unfortunate that people are getting complacent. When the outbreak first started, almost everybody on the streets wore face masks. Now we noticed about 10 percent of people are mask-less. Because of this, we should not be optimistic,” he said.
The expert warned that the pandemic could come as a tsunami and if some super-spreaders emerge, the number of cases could suddenly soar.
He noted that some young Covid-19 patients were in a serious condition, with their lungs damaged.
“They thought they were healthy and were not worried about the coronavirus outbreak. It’s absolutely wrong. If young people were attacked by a large amount of virus, their condition would become very serious or they could even die,” he said.
Yuen said young people should also wear face masks and maintain good personal hygiene.
He added that it will be “almost impossible” for schools to resume before the summer holiday.