April 14, 2022
HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 1,272 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as the government announced that free rapid antigen test kits will be distributed to elderly residents starting next week until the end of May.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said in a news briefing that the new infections comprised 12 imported cases and 1,260 local infections.
To further encourage the elderly to undergo virus tests, residents aged 70 years old and above can simply walk into community test centers and mobile test center and get tested
Chuang said 734 of the cases were confirmed through nucleic acid tests and 538 by rapid antigen tests.
She added that the 12 imported cases involved travelers from Germany, Nepal, France, Singapore, Shanghai, India, and the United States. The total number of local cases during the fifth wave has reached 1,180,556.
Under Secretary for Food and Health Chui Tak-yi said at the same briefing that free RAT kits will be given to residents aged over 60 in health centers, elderly centers, Chinese medicine clinics and other service centers from April 19 until May 31.
“The purpose is to increase accessibility and encourage elderly people to do more RATs because it’s well known that elderly people belong belong to high-risk groups,” he said.
Chui noted that nearly 96 percent of the 8,800-plus COVID-19 death cases reported in the city involved patients aged 60 years old and above.
To further encourage the elderly to undergo tests, Chui said residents aged 70 years old and above can simply walk into community test centers and mobile test center and get tested.
He also urged members of the public to strictly follow social-distancing measures during the Easter holidays.
“I understand you would like to take the chance to go out but please strictly follow social-distancing measures. Keep your masks on, keep your hands clean, and avoid crowds so that we can gradually resume normality,” Chui said.
“We should not let our guard down. We should work together to prevent a rebound,” he added.
Larry Lee Lap-yip, chief manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, also said at the briefing that 54 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 died in the last 24 hours, including 24 men and 30 women aged 56 to 106 years old.
He said 21 patients came from residential care homes while 35 did not have vaccination records.
There were also eight deaths, involving four men and four women, that were not reported earlier, Lee added.