Published: 15:19, October 28, 2020 | Updated: 13:14, June 5, 2023
CE urges public to get flu shots early, 2 new virus cases reported
By Wang Zhan

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor (third left); Chief Secretary for Administration Matthew Cheung Kin-chung (first left); and Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po (second right) receive seasonal influenza vaccination on Oct 28, 2020. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVT)

HONG KONG - Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor on Wednesday urged members of the public to get vaccinated against the seasonal influenza as Hong Kong reported two new COVID-19 cases, both imported.

Lam received the seasonal influenza vaccination (SIV) and also called on the public to maintain good personal and environmental hygiene.

With the COVID-19 pandemic and the approaching winter influenza surge, the flu and COVID-19 may possibly cause more severe conditions, Lam said.

She noted that the SIV is one of the effective means to prevent influenza and its complications, as well as to reduce the risk of influenza-related hospitalization and death.

“I appeal to the high-risk groups in particular to receive free SIV early in the public healthcare system through the Government Vaccination Programme in order to enhance personal protection,” Lam said.

Various vaccination schemes for 2020-21 have been launched to provide free or subsidized SIV for eligible groups.

As it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against seasonal influenza viruses, the government appealed to the public to get vaccinated early.

ALSO READ: CE: No quarantine for mainland-based HK residents starting Nov

Meanwhile, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said the city had two new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 5,310.

According to the Centre for Health Protection, the two imported cases involved a 37-year-old woman who returned from Indonesia and a 28-year-old woman from India

According to the CHP, the two imported cases involved a 37-year-old woman who returned from Indonesia and a 28-year-old woman from India.

There were a total of 111 confirmed COVID-19 patients being treated in 18 public hospitals as of Wednesday, including 10 patients in critical condition, and four in serious condition, according to the Hospital Authority.

The two new infections were reported a day after the government announced that, starting Friday, local restaurants can entertain six customers per table, up from four, while four people would be allowed per table at bars, up from two.

However, the government said the ban on public gatherings of more than four people will remain in force.

ALSO READ: Private medical sector can ease patients' woes amid COVID-19

Speaking on a public radio program, Secretary of Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chiu dismissed claims that the decision was logically inconsistent, while stressing that different social distancing rules should not be relaxed at the same time.

“We will evaluate which (measures) could be eased first and which could be lifted later,” said Chan.

Speaking on the same program, David Hui Shu-cheong, a respiratory disease expert from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said dining at restaurants is actually relatively riskier than involvement in outdoor activities.

Andrew Leung Kwan-yuen, the president of the Legislative Council, gets a flu shot at Legislative Council on Oct 28, 2020. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)

Hui, a member of the government’s expert advisory group on COVID-19, suggested setting the same cap for both indoor and outdoor gatherings to avoid any confusion.

The Leisure & Cultural Services Department (LCSD) on Tuesday announced that all public beaches will reopen on November 3.

Deep Water Bay, Clear Water Bay Second, Silverstrand and Golden beaches will provide lifeguard services daily from 8am to 5pm after reopening until March, the LCSD said.

Repulse Bay, Middle Bay, Stanley Main, Big Wave Bay and Silver Mine Bay beaches will reopen with lifeguard services from 8 am to 5 pm daily until November 30, it added.

The LCSD said lifeguard services at the remaining 29 beaches will be suspended after reopening until March 31, 2021.

READ MORE: HK-Singapore 'travel bubble' plan within weeks

To ensure an appropriate distance between users of shower facilities and shower heads that are not within individual cubicles, such showers will be open but spaced at 1.5 meters apart, the LCSD said.

The department emphasized that it will also step up cleaning work at the reopened beach facilities while barbecue sites in public beaches will remain closed, it added.

Ho Kwan-yiu, a member of Legislative Council, gets a flu shot at Legislative Council on Oct 28, 2020. (PARKER ZHENG / CHINA DAILY)