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expert reaction to reported second wave of infections in Hong Kong

The has reportedly been a second wave of COVID-19 infections in Hong Kong.


Prof Sian Griffiths, Emeritus Professor, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and co-chair of the Hong Kong government’s SARS inquiry, said:

“The second wave of cases in Hong Kong coincides with the large numbers of students from schools and universities returning at the end of term. They have all been asked to quarantine for 2 weeks to avoid further spread, as some of the recent positives can be identified as imported cases. Last week no travellers could go to Hong Kong without spending 2 weeks in quarantine and now none is allowed into Hong Kong for the next two weeks.              

“Following a cluster of cases in the bar area, Hong Kong has banned the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants; however they still remain open and the ‘stay home’ message is more advisory and less draconian than in the UK. The Government has further enhanced control measures in three ways: by  extending testing to asymptomatic travellers returning to Hong Kong; resuming working from home for groups of staff; and postponing or cancelling examinations due in April.”


Prof Robin May, Professor of Infectious Diseases & Director, University of Birmingham, said:

“There is no evidence that COVID-19 is more infectious for certain groups of people (i.e. it does not only infect people of a certain age or gender).  Consequently, that means that people are either ‘naïve’ (never been infected) or ‘infected and recovered’.  We do not currently know how long immunity will last in the second group, but it is likely that they will be strongly resistant to reinfection at least for a while and therefore will not be vulnerable to a ‘second wave’ of infection later in the year.  This means that the likelihood and size of a ‘second wave’ depends heavily on how many people avoid getting infected during the current outbreak.  If that number is large, then there will potentially be a significant ‘vulnerable’ proportion of the population that could be infected during a re-emerging outbreak later in the year. 

“Previous comments from Neil Ferguson’s team and Chris Whitty therefore reflect a ‘least-worst’ scenario, in which control measures are switched off and on in order to balance the rate of infections in a way which is manageable by the NHS but which minimises the risk of a very substantial second wave later in the year.”


All our previous output on this subject can be seen at this weblink:


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