COVID-19 and the Elderlies: How Safe Are Hong Kong's Care Homes?

COVID-19 and the Elderlies: How Safe Are Hong Kong's Care Homes?
Mohana Das
Hong Kong, the world's financial hub, is now confronting the pandemic's wrath after remaining relatively unscathed for nearly two years following the advent of the fifth wave of COVID-19 in January 2022. Hong Kong has strictly adhered to mainland China's policy of "Dynamic zero-COVID" as a strategy aimed at containing any outbreaks as soon as they begin. As the highly transmissible variant, Omicron, hits the city and puts the healthcare systems to the test, the strategy that worked so well is beginning to collapse with a 60-fold increase in daily infections since February 1. The ongoing wave is presenting unique complexities, as the population's low vaccination rate among the elderlies and the city's highly dense urban structure are severe causal factors, as they can facilitate rapid transmissions and spread like a wildfire. In Hong Kong, there are about 750 elderly care homes in operation, which provide housing for more than 75,000 elderly people. In such a scenario, elderly care homes may be the weakest link because they are not resilient to these variables, and the elderly and children are especially vulnerable in terms of getting infected and fatalities, as demonstrated in other countries such as the United States and Canada. Given the government's struggles to maintain the zero-COVID policy, it can be asserted that a more "place-based" or territorially responsive strategy to pandemic preparedness is needed at this time.

Publication date

1 Jan 2022 – 30 Nov 2022

Journal title, volume/issue number, page range

Frontiers in Public Health, Volume 10:883472






Urban / Rural
Health and Medicine