Cowling: short-term Covid tightening may be needed - RTHK
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Cowling: short-term Covid tightening may be needed

2022-06-20 HKT 09:48
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  • Cowling: short-term Covid tightening may be needed
A University of Hong Kong epidemiologist on Monday predicted that the SAR's daily tally of Covid cases may top 2,000 this week and said some tightening of the rules may be necessary in the short term, ahead of a return to normality in the longer term.

Speaking on RTHK's Hong Kong Today programme, Benjamin Cowling said he didn't believe the virus posed much of a threat to the wider community as many people had a level of immunity, although vulnerable groups still require protection.

Asked about Chief Executive Carrie Lam's call for people to go out less and avoid multi-household gatherings, Cowling said it may be difficult for people to comply with such a recommendation for any length of time.

He suggested figuring out when the peak of the latest round of infections was likely to occur, so short-term restrictions could be put in place to ease it.

"I don't think Covid is going away," he told RTHK's Samantha Butler. "If anything I think we should be aiming to return to normal and actually looking forward to the opportunity for larger gatherings.

"But given that BA.2.12.1 numbers are on the rise, I can understand why there might be a short-term need to tighten up a little bit."

He said it wasn't clear how many people had immunity against the current, dominant Covid subvariants, so it was difficult to estimate how big the peak would be.

Speaking on Friday, Lam noted that daily Covid cases had begun to top 1,000, though pressure on public hospitals had not increased and the number of people in a serious or critical condition remained stable.

Health officials reported 1,161 new local Covid infections and 115 imported cases on Sunday, the fifth consecutive day the caseload has remained above 1,000.