Elderly people admitted to hospital as cold weather continues to envelop Hong Kong
Dozens of people have been taken to hospital with health problems as Hong Kong recorded the year’s lowest temperature on Wednesday morning.
Temperatures generally fell to around nine degrees on Wednesday morning, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.
“The minimum temperature recorded at the observatory [in Tsim Sha Tsui] was 9.2 degrees around 7am, the lowest so far this year,” scientific officer Jeffrey Lee Chi-wai said.
The mercury hit 0.4 degrees Celsius on the peak of Tai Mo Shan in Tsuen Wan at around 7am, Lee said.
The temperature dropped lower than 9 degrees in other districts. It was 5.5 degrees Celsius on the Peak on Hong Kong Island, 4.3 degrees Celsius in Ngong Ping, Lantau and 8.1 degrees Celsius in Ta Kwu Ling in New Territories.
At 3pm on Wednesday afternoon, the cold weather warning, issued by the observatory on Monday morning, was still in force.
According to the Home Affairs Department, 485 people took refuge in 15 temporary shelters across the city to provide protection from the cold between 5.30pm on Tuesday and 7am on Wednesday.
From 12am to 11am on Wednesday, 533 elderly people pressed personal emergency buttons linking their homes to the Senior Citizens’ Home Safety Association control centre.
Among the callers, 53 elderly people needed medical treatment and were taken to public hospitals.
The association’s spokeswoman said the patients complained of dizziness, respiratory difficulties, chest discomfort or joint pains. “It is possible the cold weather triggered their illnesses,” she said.
The observatory said the cold weather might cause adverse health effects and members of the public should take appropriate measures to keep warm.
At about 4.15am, a 65-year-old man fainted in a luxury apartment in Shouson Hill Road West in Aberdeen. He was taken unconscious to Ruttonjee Hospital in Wan Chai, where he was declared dead at 4.56am.
Police said the man had an existing illness and an initial investigation had found nothing suspicious.
As well as putting on enough clothes to keep warm, the Senior Citizens’ Home Safety Association said elderly people should leave one window slightly open at home to allow fresh air in.
“People should keep an eye on their elderly family members or neighbours if possible,” a spokeswoman said.
Hong Kong is now under the influence of an intense winter monsoon that is bringing cold weather to southern China.
“Cold weather will remain for the rest of this week,” Lee said. “Temperatures will rise slightly next week but it will still be cold.”
He warned that there would be large temperature differences between day and night.