Editorial:Set up makeshift hospitals for Covid-19 patients

【明報專訊】THE NUMBER of infections of novel coronavirus pneumonia is approaching the mark of 700 in Hong Kong, as there are dozens of new cases every day. This has significantly increased the burden on the healthcare system. With the occupancy rate of isolation beds in public hospitals reaching new heights, dozens of infected persons are still waiting to be hospitalised and isolated. In one case, an infected man living in a sub-divided unit had to wait for a day and a half before admission to hospital, which was very unacceptable indeed. Failure to hospitalise confirmed patients at once is a dangerous signal that, according to what has happened in other infection areas, may portend serious community outbreaks. The authorities must hasten efforts to resolve the bottleneck. Furthermore, treating infected people at a centralised place will certainly be better than sending patients with mild symptoms home for isolation. The authorities should refer to the model of the operations of mobile cabin hospitals and convert facilities like the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, AsiaWorld-Expo and the Hong Kong Coliseum in Hung Hom into makeshift hospitals as soon as possible. In this way, patients with milder symptoms can be placed together to reduce the risk of spreading the virus in the community.