Hong Kong cold snap kills one, temperatures plunging to 6.3 degrees Celsius on Lantau Island
- Authorities remind the elderly and those with chronic illnesses to take care as chilly weather expected to persist into the new year
The Hong Kong cold snap claimed one life on Sunday, after six people were sent to hospital with hypothermia, as the temperature dropped below 10 degrees Celsius in several parts of the city.
The Hospital Authority, which oversees the city’s public hospitals, said at 5pm on Sunday that the six, aged 50 to 90, had been treated for hypothermia in the previous 24 hours.
A source said a 90-year-old woman, who had been sent to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, in Chai Wan, had died.
The authority said one surviving patient’s condition was serious, while four others were stable.
By 6.30pm, temperatures were as low as 6.3 degrees on Ngong Ping, Lantau Island. Earlier in the day they had been as low as 4 degrees at Tai Mo Shan, Hong Kong’s highest peak. Similar lows were felt at Tate’s Cairn on Kowloon Ridge.
A winter monsoon weather system was bringing the cold to the city and neighbouring Guangdong province, the Hong Kong Observatory said. Chilly, windy weather was expected to persist over the week and into the new year, with some rain in store from Friday.
The Centre for Health Protection reminded city residents, particularly the elderly and people with chronic illnesses, to take appropriate measures to protect their health. It said those groups were less able than others to regulate their body temperature.
“Elderly people have less insulating fat beneath their skin to keep them warm, and their body temperature control mechanism may be weaker,” a spokesman said. “The body may not be able to appropriately respond to the cold weather.”
Hospital bed occupancy rates at several public facilities including Pamela Youde, Ruttonjee, Queen Elizabeth, Tseung Kwan O, United Christian, Caritas Medical Centre, Pok Oi and Tuen Mun hospitals were above 100 per cent on Saturday.
The MTR Corporation, which runs the high-speed rail line to mainland China, announced that some trains would be delayed due to adverse weather north of the border.
Some trains from Beijingxi, Shanghai Hongqiao, Changshanan and Kunmingnan stations to Hong Kong would be delayed for one to two hours, the MTR Corp said. Northbound trains would also be affected.
The corporation asked passengers to check for updated schedules at the station or on its website. Customers could call its service hotline as well.
The national meteorological service reported heavy snow in Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Hunan provinces.