Hong Kong Covid-19 caseload nearly 20,000 as 34 more die

The new cases took the city’s tally of infections since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,421,943.


People wearing face masks walk past a wall decorated in mosaic at the Yau Ma Tei fruit market in Hong Kong on Nov 22, 2022. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)

December 23, 2022

HONG KONG – Hong Kong registered 19,705 new COVID cases, including 954 imported ones, on Thursday, as 34 more people died after catching the infection, according to the Department of Health’s Centre for Health Protection.

The new cases took the city’s tally of infections since the beginning of the pandemic to 2,421,943. The city logged 16,953 new cases on Wednesday and 14,982 the previous day, data showed.

The overall occupancy of medical beds in acute hospitals is around 110 percent, the Hospital Authority said in a separate statement.

Among Thursday’s new cases, 18,751 were locally acquired. total 14,751 of them tested positive by rapid antigen tests while the rest 4,000 cases through nucleic acid tests, said the CHP.

Of the imported cases, 495 involved samples taken at the Hong Kong International Airport, 348 involved samples taken during day 1 to day 3 of their arrival, and the remaining 111 from day 4 to day 7.

Currently, 4,178 COVID patients – including 34 newly reported critical patients and 15 serious patients – are undergoing treatment at hospitals

Currently, 4,178 patients testing positive for the virus are hospitalized for treatment. Among them, 2,788 required isolation and 573 were new patients. There were 34 newly reported critical patients and 15 newly reported serious patients, it added.

As of Wednesday, the Department of Health’s 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 the imported cases.

Another 152 cases of sub-lineage XBB, 18 of XBD, one of BA.2.75.2, 11 of BF.7 and 178 of BQ.1.1 have been detected among locally transmitted cases.

Holding centers at AWE

The Social Welfare Department on Thursday announced that three quarantine centers at AsiaWorld-Expo will now be converted into places to look after elderly or disabled COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or have only mild symptoms.

The move has been taken due to increasing demand for such holding centers, officials said.

All persons will be considered fit for being discharged if they have obtained negative results from rapid antigen tests on both the fourth and the fifth day, or any two consecutive days afterward, of their isolation period, the authorities said, adding that nucleic acid tests will no longer be required.

The Hospital Authority will work with private medical practitioners to provide medical support for the three HCs.

This undated file photo shows a caregiver attending to a senior citizen at a care home in Hong Kong. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)

Quarantine rule change

Members of residential care homes identified as close contacts of COVID patients are no longer required to be transferred to quarantine centers for quarantine, the government said in a statement.

The CHP has developed a set of guidelines on infection control that residential care homes staff should note when taking care of residents identified as close contacts, it said.

LegCo chief, GFS controller test positive

President of the Legislative Council Andrew Leung and the Controller of the Government Flying Service Captain West Wu tested positive for coronavirus infection through rapid antigen tests on Thursday, government notifications said.

Meanwhile, Under Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs Clarence Leung is undergoing home quarantine as one of his family members tested positive for COVID-19, a spokesman for the Home and Youth Affairs Bureau said.

Leung will work from home during the quarantine period.

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