A woman wearing a face mask sits in the bleachers of a football pitch in Hong Kong, Feb 24, 2021. (VINCENT YU/AP)
HONG KONG - Hong Kong reported five new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as the city tightened its flight suspension rules and temporarily banned an Emirates flight after some of its passengers tested positive for the virus.
All but one of the five new cases on Wednesday were imported while the city's tally of confirmed infections rose to 11,612, according to the Centre for Health Protection.
The four imported cases on Wednesday included two from Pakistan and one each from Egypt and India
The sole local case involved a 70-year-old man who lived in Yau Oi Estate Oi Fai House in Tuen Mun and who developed symptoms on March 31, the CHP said in a statement.
According to CHP records, the man was the eighth infected resident of the building, and his unit is the third on the 22nd floor, which also had other confirmed patients. The other residents of the 22nd floor would be evacuated.
The four imported cases on Wednesday included two from Pakistan and one each from Egypt and India, the CHP said.
It added that the financial hub had seen 146 infections over the past two weeks, including 30 local cases, nine of which were untraceable.
A 77-year-old man, who was first hospitalized on July 20 last year and who tested positive for the virus, died on Tuesday afternoon, the Hospital Authority said in a statement. He is the 208th coronavirus-related fatality in the city.
Due to his underlying diseases, the patient remained at the hospital after being discharged from isolation on Aug 28. His condition deteriorated in March and he eventually passed away.
According to the HA, a total of 132 confirmed patients were being treated as of Wednesday in 19 public hospitals and the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre, including six patients in critical condition and two in serious condition.
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong government banned Emirates flight EK384, which flies from Dubai to Hong Kong via Bangkok, until April 26 after five of its passengers on Sunday tested positive for COVID-19.
Under the city's tightened flight suspension rules, a carrier’s flights to Hong Kong from one place would be banned for two weeks if one of these flights turned out to have three or more infected passengers, or if any two of these flights have two or more patients within a 7-day period.
All flights from a country would also be banned if a total of five or more passengers test positive for N501Y, the coronavirus variant first found in the UK, within a 7-day period.
The Hong Kong government also apologized to 24 residents who were inadvertently given a COVID-19 vaccine that was not their choice.
In a statement issued onTuesday night, a government spokesman said some of these residents had changed their mind after making an appointment and just went to another vaccination center, while others went to another center by mistake and did not receive the jab that they had booked.
“We have apologized to the persons affected by the failure of staff members to carefully check their booking information and would take follow-up actions. ... to ensure that the citizens concerned will receive a second dose of the same make,” the spokesman was quoted as saying in the statement.
The spokesman said the government had reviewed its vaccination procedures, including making sure that clear signs are displayed in and outside vaccination centers, to prevent similar incidents from happening.
Under the new arrangement, every community vaccination center and general outpatient clinic was assigned a site number – label S for centers administering the Sinovac vaccine and B for venues with BioNTech jabs. Staff members were also told to be more vigilant.
HONG KONG NEWS