People wearing face masks walk on a street in Yuen Long, Hong Kong, south China, Feb 9, 2022. (LO PING FAI / XINHUA)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 7,985 new coronavirus infections, including 7,374 local cases, and 11 COVID-related deaths on Wednesday.

The 11 new reported deaths brought the city’s toll during the pandemic to 10,634, the center added

The 611 confirmed imported cases included 361 samples that tested positive at the Hong Kong International Airport, 174 during day 1 to day 3 after arrival, and the remaining 76 between days 4 and 7, the Centre for Health Protection said in a statement.

As of Wednesday, the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) had identified a total of 224 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, according to the statement.

Sixty-seven cases of sub-lineage XBB, 16 of XBD, one of BA.2.75.2, one of BF.7 and 76 of BQ.1.1 had also been detected among local infections.

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The CHP also said that, among local specimens PHLSB tested between Nov 14 to 20 for verification, 78.6 percent were linked to BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants. The 11 new reported deaths brought the city’s toll during the pandemic to 10,634, the center added.

Deputy Financial Secretary tests positive

Meanwhile, Deputy Financial Secretary Michael Wong has tested COVID-positive through a PCR test, a spokesperson for the Deputy Financial Secretary’s Office said in a statement.

Wong, who is currently undergoing isolation, last went to work on Tuesday. He had no recent travel history and wore masks and followed antivirus measures, including taking rapid antigen tests regularly.

Wong’s wife, Commissioner for Labor May Chan, will undergo home quarantine. She tested negative in her regular RATs, including one conducted on Wednesday, the spokesperson added.

Three quarantine/holding centers to reopen

Additionally, the Social Welfare Department (SWD) said in a statement that two quarantine centers and one holding center for COVID patients will reopen soon.

The two quarantine centers at Tsuen Wan West Sports Centre (119 beds) and Lung Sum Avenue Sports Centre (128 beds) will reopen on Nov 29 and Nov 30 respectively, while the holding center at Choi Wing Road Sports Centre (144 beds) on Dec 2, said the SWD. 

The two quarantine centers will receive senior citizens identified as close contacts in residential care homes, while the holding center will take elderly COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or showing mild symptoms, according to the statement.

All three centers will provide basic meals and nursing support for free.