Hong Kong fears food supply disruption as Covid hits drivers in worsening outbreak

Hong Kong fears food supply disruption as Covid hits drivers in worsening outbreak

Hong Kong authorities said supplies of vegetables and chilled poultry to the global financial hub may be temporarily disrupted after some mainland goods vehicle drivers preliminarily tested positive for Covid-19.

Hong Kong imports 90% of its food, with the mainland its most important source, especially for fresh food.

Consumers have already seen a shortage of some foreign imported goods, including premium seafood, due to stringent flight restrictions.

“The mainland authorities and the (Hong Kong) government are working closely together to firm up the detailed arrangements to expedite the logistics of food supply for Hong Kong so as to make the supply situation resumes normal as soon as possible,” the government said in a statement on Sunday.

On Saturday, the city of 7.5 million people reported a record 1,514 new coronavirus infections, up from Friday’s 1,325, in the biggest test yet for the Chinese territory’s “dynamic zero-Covid” strategy.

After a meeting with mainland Chinese officials across the border in Shenzhen, Hong Kong’s No. 2 official, John Lee, said on Saturday that China will help the city to cope with the expanding outbreak by providing testing, treatment and quarantine capacity. He said there were no plans for a mainland-style lockdown for now.

The measures will give Hong Kong a breathing space as medical capacity becomes stretched on all fronts, although there were no specific details of the plans and it was not clear how quickly they could be implemented.

Hong Kong and mainland China are among few places in the world still aiming to suppress every Covid-19 outbreak, but the Omicron variant has proven tough to keep under control.

Mainland China reported 67 new Covid cases on 12 February, down from 99 cases a day earlier, the country’s national health authority said on Sunday.

The National Health Commission said in a statement 28 cases were locally transmitted, down from 40.