Hong Kong men face a higher infection rate and are less alert to Covid-19 symptoms than women, according to university research.
Male patients were also more likely to be diagnosed later because of lower awareness, said one of the researchers, Dr Martin Wong Chi-sang, a professor at the school of public health at Chinese University (CUHK).
The results were based on a study of all 1,038 local cases of Covid-19 detected between January 23 and April 25. The report concluded that the Covid-19 risk was higher for men, at an overall rate of 159.2 per 1 million among the population, compared to 115.6 for women. It did not state the cause behind the higher statistics for men.
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But Wong said: “We strongly advise anyone with symptoms of respiratory infections to visit the doctor and get tested for Covid-19.”
According to the Centre for Health Protection, the most common symptoms of Covid-19 include fever, malaise, dry cough and shortness of breath.
The study, published in BMJ Global Health this week, also concluded that the incidence and mortality rates of Covid-19 in Hong Kong during the studied period was 135.5 and 0.5 respectively per 1 million in the population – among the lowest in the world.
The rates were 6,090 and 350 in the United States, 4,320 and 610 in Britain, 6,990 and 4 in Singapore, and 230 and five in South Korea respectively.
The study stated that prompt and stringent all-round containment strategies in Hong Kong, including border entry restrictions, quarantine, as well as isolation of cases and contacts, contributed to the decline of transmissibility.
“Our research provides scientific data to prove that the strict epidemic prevention measures adopted by Hong Kong in the first and second waves effectively suppressed the spread of the new coronary pneumonia,” said CUHK microbiologist professor Paul Chan Kay-sheung, who was also involved in the research.
“We believe that these prevention and control measures need to be further strengthened in a timely manner to effectively control the coming fourth wave,” Chan added.
A cut-off was also made on February 22 to define the first and second waves of Covid-19 in Hong Kong.
The incidence rate of the second wave was 126.4 per 1 million people – 10.6 times higher than that of the first wave’s 11.9.
The report noted patients in the first wave were mostly the elderly, with 40 per cent aged 45 to 64 years. Patients in the second wave were mostly adolescents and young adults, aged 25 to 44, representing a mass influx of returning students fleeing the pandemic overseas.
There were stringent measures being implemented during the second wave, which included collecting deep-throat saliva samples at the airport, and the implementation of compulsory home quarantine policies for people arriving from affected areas in Europe, the epicentre of Covid-19 at that time. The policy was later extended to all overseas countries on March 19.
“The success of Hong Kong in maintaining a low incidence and mortality rate serves as a model for other cities with high population density and international travel volume,” the paper stated.
Researchers hoped that the findings could inform formulation and implementation of pandemic mitigation.
This article Hong Kong men face higher Covid-19 risk, less alert to symptoms than women, researchers say first appeared on South China Morning Post