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With a population of 7.5 million, Hong Kong’s epidemic safety threshold is less than 75 people being treated in hospitals. So far, Hong Kong has experienced four waves.
After the first wave of infections peaked on April 9, 2020 with 677 infected people under treatment at hospitals (9 times over the safety threshold), tightened preventive measures helped reduce the number of new cases and the number of people requiring treatment at hospital. By May 9, 2020, Hong Kong reached the safety threshold (with 74 people under treatment at hospitals, lower than the threshold of 75 people) and by May 18, 2020, only 27 people were being treated.
However, looser preventive measures led to the second outbreak, with the peak recorded on August 2, 2020 – 1,519 people under treatment at hospitals. And then the third and the fourth waves came. Currently, the number of people being treated is more than 400 people, five times higher than the threshold of safety.
Lesson: Hong Kong is a territory with GDP per capita of more than $49,300 (17 times higher than that of Vietnam). The strict control of the epidemic helped reduce the epidemic to below the safety level (10 patients treated at hospitals per 1 million people). However, preventive measures should not be loosened because the outbreak can return anytime.
3. Japan has gone through three epidemic waves
With a population of 126.4 million people, Japan’s safety threshold is no more than 1,264 people being treated in hospitals. To date, this country has experienced three waves of infection.
After the first wave peaked on April 29, 2020 with 11,114 people under treatment (8.8 times over the safety threshold), Japan imposed strict preventive measures. This helped reduce the number of new cases and the number of patients treated at hospitals. By June 5, 2020, Japan reached the epidemic safety threshold (1,185 people treated at hospitals).
However, easing preventive measures made the epidemic break out again, with the second wave reaching its peak on August 12, 2020 with 14,263 patients treated at hospitals.