Hong Kong adjusts PCR tests for arrivals as new cases hit two-month high

The existing compulsory nucleic acid testing requirement after arrival will be lifted.


Pedestrians cross a busy intersection in Causeway Bay in Hong Kong on Jan 4, 2022. (PETER PARKS / AFP)

November 18, 2022

HONG KONG – The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government on Thursday announced that it will adjust nucleic acid testing arrangements for arrivals from abroad and Taiwan region as the city saw its daily COVID-19 cases reach a two-month high.

Starting Nov 21, travelers from overseas and Taiwan region will only be required to undergo nucleic acid tests on the day when they land at the airport and on Day 2 after their arrival, as well as daily rapid antigen tests after arrival until Day 7, the government said in a statement on Thursday night.

The existing compulsory nucleic acid testing requirement on Day 4 and Day 6 after arrival will be lifted, it added.

The city recorded on Thursday 8,052 new infections, including 7,519 local cases and 533 imported infections, the Centre for Health Protection said in a statement.

The last time new cases surpassed 8,000 was on Sep 17, when 8,278 infections were recorded. Hong Kong saw 6,656 new cases on Wednesday.

Twelve new deaths reported on Thursday also brought the city’s toll during the pandemic to 10,569.

The CHP said 18 residential care homes for the elderly and persons with disabilities had 24 new cases while 678 schools reported 907 students and 194 staff members getting infected.

Eighteen schools had to cancel 20 in-person classes for one week due to infections.

As of Thursday, the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch Public Health Laboratory Services Branch had identified 221 cases of sub-lineage XBB, six of XBD, eight of BA.2.75.2, seven of BA.4.6, 12 of BF.7 and 34 of BQ.1.1 among imported cases in Hong Kong.

Forty-seven cases of sub-lineage XBB, 16 of XBD, one of BA.2.75.2, one of BF.7 and 55 of BQ.1.1 had also been detected among local cases.

The CHP added that 84 percent of new cases verified from Nov 8 to 14 were linked to the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants.

In a separate statement, the Hospital Authority said a total of 2,303 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 were being treated in public hospitals as of Thursday, including 361 new patients.

The HA said 211 patients required oxygen therapy and 11 patients needed ventilator support. Thirty-eight patients were in critical condition, including nine in intensive care, while 62 were in serious condition, the HA added.

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