A total of 614 new Covid cases were reported in Hong Kong on Monday according to health authority figures, as the city tackles an escalating outbreak.

Hong Kong, which is implementing mainland China’s strategy of curbing all Covid outbreaks as soon as possible, has seen a surge in cases since January, rising to over 2,000, compared to only two in December.

As well as the confirmed cases, a further 600 preliminary positive cases were reported on Monday, say authorities.

On Sunday, 342 cases were recorded in Hong Kong, slightly less than Saturday’s high of 351. Numerous bank branches announced they would suspend operations as from Monday to help to contain the spread of the virus.

According to Health Secretary Sophia Chan, over the weekend she forecasts cases to rise "exponentially,” whereas Director of Health Ronald Lam said coronavirus had been affecting all districts, across communities of different income levels: “This time, the fifth wave of pandemic is an unprecedented extent, and it will be the largest blow to our anti-epidemic systems,” Lam said.

Hong Kong has become one of the world’s most isolated cities, with a 90% drop in flights due to strict Covid regulations. Schools, playgrounds, gyms and the majority of other venues remain closed, whilst restaurants have to close by 6pm, reports Channel News Asia.

Furthermore, government quarantine facilities are close to maximum capacity as authorities grapple to maintain their strict contact tracing scheme. Daily briefings are held by authorities in relation to each person with Covid, yet as cases continue to soar, methods such as checking credit card statements and transport records to detect close contacts is becoming much harder.

The Director of Health added: “It is essential and critical that we continue to maintain the containment policy, especially using the most effective tools of contact-tracing, quarantine, and also sending those detected cases for treatment in hospitals.”

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