Passengers walk through the Hong Kong International Airport in Hong Kong on Dec 8, 2022. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)
HONG KONG - Hong Kong reported 13,924 new COVID-19 cases on Friday--the highest since late March--as 23 more patients passed away, health authorities said.
In a statement, the Centre for Health Protection said the new cases comprised 13,277 local infections and 647 imported cases.
The 23 new reported deaths brought the city’s toll during the current fifth wave of infections to 10,701, the Centre for Health Protection said
The last time new cases in the city surpassed 13,000 was on March 24, when 13,074 infections were recorded. Hong Kong had 14,373 cases on Thursday.
The 23 new reported deaths brought the city’s toll during the current fifth wave of infections to 10,701, the CHP added.
It said 18 residential care homes for the elderly and persons with disabilities had 26 new cases while 913 schools reported 1,528 students and 321 staff members testing positive.
Seventeen schools each had to suspend one in-person class for one week due to infections, the CHP said.
As of Friday, the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch 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.
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There were also 120 cases of sub-lineage XBB, 18 of XBD, one of BA.2.75.2, five of BF.7 and 140 of BQ.1.1 that had been detected among local cases, the CHP said.
The CHP added that 64.24 percent (the seven-day moving average) of specimens verified by the PHLSB from Nov 30 to Dec 6 were linked to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.
Meanwhile, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Chris Sun Yuk-han is undergoing home quarantine after a family member in his household has tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesman for the Labour and Welfare Bureau said in a statement.
Sun, who will be working from home during his quarantine, has been taking COVID-19 nucleic acid tests regularly and followed other anti-pandemic requirements, including wearing face masks.
The results of his nucleic acid test on Thursday and a rapid antigen test on Friday were negative, the spokesman added.
Also on Friday, an Education Bureau spokesman said Secretary for Education Christine Choi Yuk-lin is also undergoing home quarantine after a family member in her household got infected.
Choi, who has been taking nucleic acid tests regularly, tested negative on Thursday and again on Friday when she had a rapid antigen test.
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