Hong Kong will need an additional 1,000 medics from the mainland in order to operate the field hospital at AsiaWorld-Expo at its full capacity, Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority Tony Ko Pat-sing said on a television interview Sunday.
In case there is a rebound in Covid
-19 cases, the authority wants to house patients in field hospitals at AsiaWorld-Expo and the one to be finished near Lok Ma Chau loop, so that existing public hospitals have more capacity to handle non-Covid
patients, Ko also said.
Around 375 mainland medics had arrived in Hong Kong in an exceptional arrangement to support operations at the community isolation facility at AsiaWorld-Expo, although they are not registered in Hong Kong.
Ko said that the Expo currently has 800 beds, and half of the beds are not filled.
With the current manpower, the facility can handle at most 360 patients. To take in more patients, more manpower will be needed.
Although daily Covid
-19 cases are on the decline, there are still many confirmed cases among the elderly, Ko said.
“If the elderly in residential care homes refuse to get vaccinated and continue to be infected, they may face severe symptoms of Covid
-19, or even death,” Ko warned.
Elderly home runners complained that some elderly patients in stable condition were sent back to their residential care homes instead of the Social Welfare Department’s isolation centers, increasing the risk of them infecting fellow residents. Ko said that there is still “room for improvement” for the arrangement.
Ko said that he is optimistic about the healthcare system’s response to Hong Kong’s fifth wave. The government has devoted itself to anti-epidemic measures over the past two months by ramping up the city’s vaccination drive, expanding the use of oral Covid
-19 drugs, and setting up additional isolation facilities, he said.