The Lunar New Year is China’s most important holiday. It was celebrated all over Asia on February 1, even though pandemic restrictions in many other countries meant that family outings and crowds were limited.

Hong Kong is facing record cases which are challenging its “zero COVID” policy. Monday’s new record high was 614 local infections.

“We anticipate that there will be many more cases in the next few days. “We consider this to be some effects after holiday events and clusters,” Edwin Tsui, an official at the Centre for Health Protection, told reporters Monday.

“With the current containment measures, it is possible to contain the disease.

All cases in Hong Kong must be admitted to hospital immediately. Authorities announced Monday that close relatives of infected people will be allowed to isolate themselves at home starting Tuesday. Individuals who are found to be positive in isolation at home will be admitted to hospital.

Hong Kong is aligned with China’s zero-COVID policy, which aims to completely eradicate outbreaks. This comes as other countries are changing their ways of living with the virus. Authorities have banned public eating after 6 p.m. and are planning to lock down residential buildings where clusters of infection are identified.

After last Friday’s holiday, there was a sharp rise in coronavirus cases in Singapore. The number of cases tripled to 13,000 by Friday.

Since then, daily infections have dropped to 7,752 on Sunday. This was due to restrictions like limited capacity in restaurants and a cap on the number of unique visitors per household.

Over 100,000 cases have been reported in Singapore over the past month. However, more than 99% of these cases are mild to moderate.

Although COVID-19 cases have been on the rise, there are far fewer severe cases than during the delta surge.

Authorities in Asia are facing a similar situation as the more transmissible Omicron dominates. However, health officials in many countries report that the omicron surges have not caused as many deaths or hospitalizations as the delta variant.

Japan reported nearly 90,000. New cases were reported in Japan on Sunday. This includes 17,526 in Tokyo. Local omicron infections did not slow down.

Experts believe the infection is now spreading to elderly and vulnerable people, who are filling more hospital beds. Only 5% of the country has had their third doses of the coronavirus vaccination.

The number of local outbreaks in Indonesia is also increasing, moving closer to the cases that triggered the devastating delta epidemic last year.

January 6th, Indonesia saw 533 COVID-19 new cases and seven deaths. The daily number had risen to 36,057 a month later, on Sunday. The daily death rate has risen to 57, nearly four times as fast as it was a week earlier.

Officials in Thailand reported Monday more than 10,000 cases per day for the third consecutive day. However, the Department of Disease Control stated that while the death rate remains stable, the number of seriously ill patients is declining.

Opas Karnkawinpong, chief of the Department, suggested that Thailand may relax some of its pandemic restrictions because the omicron variant seems less severe.

He stated that “the global situation of COVID-19 seems in the same direction,” The Bangkok Post. “Many countries have begun to reduce their infection rates despite the spikes in daily cases.”

Officials warn of an escalating tide of infections

Governments in other countries that celebrate the Lunar New Year are also on alert for higher infection rates.

The number of new cases in Malaysia has been rising, with Monday’s report from the health ministry reporting 11,034 cases. This was due to the Lunar New Year, when many Malaysians traveled. However, health officials stated that most cases are asymptomatic and have only mild symptoms.

Noor Hisham Abdullah, a top health official, has warned that daily cases could increase by as much as 80% by March. He urged Malaysians not to delay in getting their booster shots. About 98% of adults have had their vaccines completed and half have had their third.

Health experts in South Korea warn of daily spikes of 130,000 to 170,000 per day by February.

The number of new cases in the country was 38,691, a ninefold increase over the mid-January levels. This is compared to the level seen when omicron was the dominant strain.

Authorities in Vietnam have warned that infection rates could rise following the new year celebrations.

Vietnam reported 192 cases in the last month of the omicron variation. Most of these patients had mild or no symptoms. Vietnam has previously made progress in resuming social activities, despite low death and hospitalization rates.

As coronavirus outbreaks declined from 39,000 at mid-January, the Philippines decided to relax its restrictions and allow tourists to visit.

Despite fears of an outbreak, social distancing restrictions are still in place. They were put in place to prevent a spread of disease ahead of May 9’s general and presidential elections. Campaigning starts Tuesday with bans on handshakes and kissing as well as hugging large crowds.

New local infections in mainland China continue to fluctuate. They dropped to nine on Friday and rose to 45 on Monday. Most of them are located in the southern region, Guangxi.

A few cases of omicron infection have been reported in recent weeks. However, these outbreaks have been contained. As China launched the Beijing Winter Olympics last Wednesday, Chinese authorities have instituted strict local lockdowns and mass testing.

Tonga, a far-flung Pacific archipelago country, has been trying to contain its first pandemic since last month’s tsunami and volcanic eruption.

Two Tongan men who handled shipments last week were positive for the test. Prime Minister Siaosi Sovaleni confirmed two additional positive cases over the weekend, bringing the total number of active cases up to seven.