Up to two months to beat current outbreak: expert - RTHK
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Up to two months to beat current outbreak: expert

2020-07-27 HKT 09:35
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  • A medical worker takes a swab from a man at a specimen collection point for taxi drivers inside a Hong Kong car park. File photo: Reuters
    A medical worker takes a swab from a man at a specimen collection point for taxi drivers inside a Hong Kong car park. File photo: Reuters
A medical expert said on Monday that he hopes to see the number of coronavirus cases in the SAR peak this week – but warned that it would still be another one to two months before cases come close to zero.

University of Hong Kong professor Benjamin Cowling was speaking one day after a further 128 people were confirmed with Covid-19, with 103 contracted locally.

Sunday’s tally was the fifth straight day that the number of new infections had been in the triple digits, and is the second-highest on record. Another 100 preliminary positives are awaiting confirmation.

Cowling, who's also the director of the WHO Collaborating Centre for Infectious Disease Epidemiology and Control, said it seems more difficult now than in March to stop the community spread of the virus.

"The measures now in place are the kind of measures that worked in March. It looks like we might need slightly stricter measures to bring the numbers down faster because the measures put in place a week ago should be showing their effect about now," he told RTHK.

"It takes about a week before you can see the effect of new public health measures."

He played down any suggestion that the government should have acted sooner, saying his focus was on whether existing measures should be strengthened.

"I guess you could say if public health measures had been introduced a week or so earlier maybe we'd be turning the corner now, but I don't think we lost a lot of time by delaying some of the measures," Cowling said.

"What I'm concerned about right now is whether the current set of measures are enough to turn the corner, or whether they need to be slightly tightened further."