People attend an outdoor PCR testing center in Hong Kong on Dec 8, 2022. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s daily COVID-19 caseload crossed another mark on Thursday as it topped 14,000 cases while 27 new deaths were reported.
In a press conference, Under Secretary for Health Libby Lee said cases were “on the rise” with no signs of abating as the city recorded 14,373 new infections, including 13,575 local cases and 798 imported infections.
The last time the number of new cases surpassed 14,000 was on March 22, when 14,152 infections were recorded. On Wednesday, the city had 11,981 new infections and 22 deaths.
The last time the number of new cases surpassed 14,000 was on March 22, when 14,152 infections were recorded. On Wednesday, the city had 11,981 new infections and 22 deaths
In contrast to the previous seven days (Nov 25 to Dec 1), the city’s overall COVID cases over the past seven days grew by 25.5 percent, of which local infections rose 26.2 percent while imported cases increased 16.1 percent, Albert Au, principal medical and health officer of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said at the same briefing.
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The number of deaths also went up by 12.2 percent, Au said, adding that the number of elderly care homes with infections also rose by 28 percent while care homes for persons with disabilities the disabled that had cases jumped 33 percent.
Larry Lee, chief manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, also said at the briefing that among the 3,200 COVID patients being treated in public hospitals, over 90 percent were elderly people.
Lee stressed the importance of getting vaccinated, noting that 96 percent of COVID-related deaths involved senior citizens aged 60 or above.
The imported cases included 415 that were detected at the Hong Kong International Airport, 287 during days 1 to 3 of their arrival in Hong Kong, and the remaining 96 from the fourth to seventh days, according to the CHP.
As of Thursday, the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) had identified 226 cases of sub-lineage XBB, six of XBD, eight of BA.2.75.2, seven of BA.4.6, 13 of BF.7 and 38 of BQ.1.1 among imported cases in Hong Kong.
Additionally, 117 cases of sub-lineage XBB, 18 of XBD, one of BA.2.75.2, five of BF.7 and 131 of BQ.1.1 were also detected among local cases.
Among the specimens received by the PHLSB during Nov 29 to Dec 5 for verification testing of local cases, about 65.56 percent (the seven-day moving average) were related to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.
The 27 new reported deaths brought the city’s toll during the current fifth wave of infections to 10,678, the CHP added.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Alice Mak Mei-kuen was identified as a close contact after assessment conducted by the CHP as a friend of hers had tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesman for the Home and Youth Affairs Bureau said.
Mak, who is undergoing home quarantine and will work from home, has been taking COVID-19 nucleic acid tests regularly. She had negative results after taking a nucleic acid test on Wednesday and a rapid antigen test on Thursday.
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