Hong Kong currently requires all cases to be hospitalized. On Monday, authorities announced that close contacts of infected persons will be allowed to isolate at home, starting from Tuesday. Those who test positive while in home isolation will be transferred to a hospital.

Many Asian countries are facing a spike in COVID-19 infections after the widely-celebrated Lunar New Year holidays, as health officials grapple with the highly-transmissible omicron variant and expectations that numbers will continue to rise in coming weeks, AP reports.

The Lunar New Year, which is China’s biggest holiday, was celebrated across Asia on Feb. 1 even as pandemic restrictions in many countries kept crowds and family outings to a minimum.

Hong Kong’s authorities are confronting record cases that are straining its so-called “zero-COVID” policy. On Monday, the city reported a new high of 614 local infections.

“We expect there will be more cases coming in a few days. We consider this as some effects after the holiday events and clusters,” told reporters on Monday Edwin Tsui, an official with the Centre for Health Protection. “With our current containment measures, we hope we can still contain the disease.”

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