Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Monday, Dec 04, 2023

Hong Kong Covid-19 task force swamped as woman, 62, died alone at home, inquest told

Hong Kong Covid-19 task force swamped as woman, 62, died alone at home, inquest told

Centre for Health Protection official tells inquest that expansion of Covid-19 task force did not keep pace with fourth wave surge.

Hong Kong health staff battling the Covid-19 fourth wave were swamped around the time an elderly woman with chronic illnesses died alone at home before a quarantine space could be found for her, an inquest heard on Wednesday.

Dr Albert Au Ka-wing, a principal medical and health officer at the Centre for Health Protection, told the Coroner’s Court that the expansion of a task force designed to tackle the pandemic could not keep up with the surge in cases as the fourth wave hammered the city in late 2020.

“The surge came too quickly and rapidly, and on top of that, there were a number of mass evacuations … which posed an extra burden on our workforce,” Au said.

There was an enforced exodus of residents from two residential complexes in the first half of December.

West Kowloon Law Courts Building in Sham Shui Po, where the inquest into the death of a woman who died alone at home as she waited days for a Covid-19 quarantine space.

Lui Suk-hang, 62, was found dead on December 12, 2020. She was listed as a close contact of her daughter, also her sole support, who had been sent to an isolation centre with Covid-19 three days before the body was found.

An autopsy showed Lui, who was retired, was also infected with the coronavirus. In addition, she had kidney problems, diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.

“We had been constantly strengthening our workforce, but I have no choice but to accept we did not have sufficient manpower to respond to the situation back then,” Au told Coroner Monica Chow Wai-choo and a five-strong jury.

But Au emphasised the staff shortfall was not down to an oversight by health authorities.

He highlighted other government departments involved in the uphill struggle against the coronavirus had faced similar problems.

The court earlier heard that the Centre for Health Protection took four days to complete the administrative process to send Lui to a quarantine centre, rather than the four hours usual in normal circumstances.

A nurse responsible for making preliminary enquiries about Lui’s medical conditions said she did not ask for her case to be fast-tracked because her health was stable and she was able to look after herself.

Au backed the nurse’s decision and said it was appropriate for Lui to wait in the same queue as everyone else.

“For those who display no symptoms and can take care of themselves, our goal is to send them to quarantine as soon as possible,” Au said. “We do not think there are some people who can be admitted earlier and some later.”

The jury suggested the nurse may have had a better understanding of Lui’s condition if further inquiries been made about the medicines she needed.

But Au said that was unnecessary in a preliminary investigation of close contacts and that the diseases Liu suffered from were common among older people.

The jury also questioned whether authorities had been aware of the manpower shortage faced by the coronavirus task force.

“Is it the case that, had it not been for this incident, the Department of Health would have only send additional workers bit by bit, and because of this incident, they finally resolved to increase the workforce once and for all?”, one juror asked.

“I am unable to answer this question,” Au admitted, but said the health department had hired extra staff before and after Lui’s death.

He said he also believed that officials had given “serious consideration” to how they would meet the increased demand for frontline staff.

The inquest continues.

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?