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Published: 17:48, June 17, 2022 | Updated: 17:54, June 17, 2022
HK enhances virus testing as new cases top 1,000 for 3rd day
By Wang Zhan and William Xu
Published:17:48, June 17, 2022 Updated:17:54, June 17, 2022 By Wang Zhan and William Xu

People walk through Chi Lin Nunnery in Hong Kong on June 2, 2022. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)

HONG KONG - Hong Kong is enhancing COVID-19 testing as the city sees a rebound in daily infections, said leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, as the financial hub reported 1,145 new infections on Friday.

Speaking at a media briefing, Lam said the resurgence in caseload is noteworthy, with the number of daily infections exceeding 1,000 for three consecutive days. 

READ MORE: HK logs 1,179 cases as virus test rule for bar patrons takes effect

In a bid to identify and cut the transmission chain as early as possible, schools, care homes, bars and upcoming celebrations for Hong Kong's 25th anniversary will adopt stringent anti-pandemic precautions, Lam said.

Students and school staff will be required to continue taking daily rapid antigen tests until late August when the 2021-22 school year ends, while outdoor activities and graduation banquets should be minimized

Students and school staff will be required to continue to take daily rapid antigen tests until late August when the 2021-22 school year ends, while outdoor activities and graduation banquets should be minimized, Lam said.

Staff members of residential care homes for elderly and people with disabilities, meanwhile, will need to take a nucleic acid test once every two weeks, in addition to the daily self-test before going to work.

The outgoing leader also canceled her farewell banquets with lawmakers, executive councilors and department heads due to COVID-19 concerns, adding that she hopes people will keep family gatherings to a minimum on Father's Day, June 19.

In addition, the government will continue to distribute free self-test kits to the high-risk groups, including the elderly, property management companies, and organizers of the approved events for celebrating the city's 25th anniversary.

Lam stressed that there has not been a major strain on the medical system, as severe cases still account for only five percent of all hospitalized patients. She added that the rising trend is still within Hong Kong’s capability to cope with. So far there is no need to tighten social curbs, considering economic costs and the public’s will.

ALSO READ: HK to require bar patrons to show RAT results

Hong Kong reported 1,145 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, including 1,014 local infections and 131 imported cases, Albert Au Ka-wing, principal medical and health officer of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said in a separate news briefing. 

Among the 131 imported cases, 67 were detected at the airport and 54 at quarantine hotels, Au said. The new additions brought Hong Kong’s infections number in the fifth wave of COVID-19 to 1,201,150.

A total of 126 schools have reported 145 positive cases, involving 102 students and 43 staff members, Au added. 

Larry Lee Lap-yip, chief manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, said a 58-year-old female patient infected with COVID-19 has passed away. She has no vaccination record and was suffering from stage 4 nasopharyngeal carcinoma. The toll during the city’s fifth wave of infections rose to 9,180.

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