Six people in Hong Kong died of suspected hypothermia, cardiac arrest or diseases exacerbated by cold weather over the past weekend, when temperatures took a steep dive.
On Sunday morning, mercury dropped to 7 degrees Celsius (44.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in Hong Kong’s New Territories and as low as 0.7 degrees on Tai Mo Shan, the city’s highest peak.
The deceased included a 54-year-old driver with a history of heart disease. He fainted in a parked bus in Yau Tsim Mong district after complaining about chest pain. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was announced dead, presumably due to heart failure, according to the Sing Tao Daily.
The city’s Hospital Authority has also reminded the elderly and patients suffering from chronic diseases to keep warm at all times, and asked relatives, friends and neighbors to care for frail elderly persons, particularly those living alone.
Wards and accident and emergency departments are bursting at the seams with bed occupancy rates reaching as high as 118% at key public hospitals.
The Home Affairs Department has also opened 18 temporary shelters citywide. They will remain open while the cold weather warning is in force.
A chilly New Year’s Eve will run into the following holiday as cold, wet weather brought about by an intense winter monsoon may linger, according to the Hong Kong Observatory.
But the likeliness of rain or drizzle tonight is slim when the Victoria Harbor will be lit up by a dazzling fireworks show as 2018 draws to a close.
Hongkongers unaccustomed to such cold weather can expect relief soon, as a warm weekend is coming, with temperatures set to rise above 20 degrees.