Hong Kong

Hong Kong recorded 140 new covid cases today as the outbreak takes a turn for the worse. It's just shy of the record 149 cases at the high of the third wave in July 2020.

Cases jumped from 26 on Saturday, in part because of an outbreak in an apartment building. Cases of omicron are ripping through Kwai Chung Estate in a demonstration of how virulent the variant is. A pair of buildings in the 16-block estate account for the vast majority of new cases. A total of 35,000 people live in the sprawling complex of towers.

Experts say it will take 2-3 months -- at least -- to control the outbreak.

Government pandemic adviser Professor Yuen Kwok-yung said on Sunday that Hong Kong’s “zero-Covid” strategy was not sustainable, as it was just meant to buy time for the 22% of unvaccinated residents to get the jab so the city could open up and start living with the virus.

The big question is when (or whether) mainland China will make the same pivot.

In Beijing, 13 more cases were reported on Sunday including six in one district. That district ordered mass testing for its two million residents.

The Lunar New Year extended holiday period has now started and the Beijing Olympics begin next Friday.