As the fight against the novel coronavirus pandemic enters its second anniversary and an unprecedented 5th wave outbreak is occurring in Hong Kong, Dr Gilman Siu, Associate Professor of the Department of Health Technology and Informatics at PolyU, shared his reflections on the efforts in tracing the contacts of COVID-19 patients, and explained how his team has applied rapid genome sequencing and phylogenomic analysis to help identify and stop transmission chains in Hong Kong.


Dr Siu told HK01 that his team’s workload in the current 5th wave outbreak stands out among his experiences of tackling the pandemic over the past two years. “We have never been sequencing non-stop like this: as soon as we thought we were about to take a break after completing a case, we would receive another call about a new case that needed to be analysed,” he said, adding that a timely sequencing result can avert wasting time and effort in epidemiological investigations.


For the past two years, Dr Siu’s team has sequenced over 2,500 cases and identified more than 120 strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that have appeared in Hong Kong.


As a father of three children, Dr Siu said that he hoped dearly that the lives of kids could return to normal as soon as possible. “Some kids have been wearing masks when going out since they were born. I do hope we can show them what a normal world should be.”


More about Dr Siu’s reflections on the pandemic can be found in the HK01 and NowTV interviews.