People walk inside the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Hong Kong on Oct 3, 2022. (PETER PARKS / AFP)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong’s health authorities on Wednesday registered 16,953 new COVID-19 cases and 50 related fatalities in a remarkable increase in the casualty figure, data from the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health show.

The latest deaths pushed the city’s tally of fatalities from the coronavirus infection to 11,080 during the fifth wave and 11,293 since the beginning of the pandemic.

Total 144 COVID-19 patients were in serious condition, and 136 in critical condition, the Hospital Authority said

Currently, 4,143 COVID patients are being treated at public hospitals, according to the Hospital Authority. They included 549 new admissions, 2 792 requiring isolation, 516 needing oxygen therapy, and 68 receiving ventilator support.

Total 144 COVID-19 patients were in serious condition, and 136 in critical condition, the HA added.

Of Wednesday’s new cases, 15,971 were locally acquired and the remaining 982 imported. The city registered 14,982 daily COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, 15,383 on Monday, and 16,023 the day before.

Among the 982 imported cases, 489 were detected during tests at the Hong Kong International Airport, 378 involved samples taken during day 1 to day 3 of their arrival in Hong Kong, and the remaining 115 between days 4 and 7, said the CHP.

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As of Wednesday, 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 had been identified among Hong Kong’s imported cases. At the same time, 149 cases of sub-lineage XBB, 18 of XBD, one of BA.2.75.2, 11 of BF.7 and 171 of BQ.1.1 were also detected among the local cases.

Senior officials test positive

Director of Accounting Services Susanna Cheung Sau-lan is currently under home quarantine as one of her family members has tested COVID positive, said a spokesman for the Treasury on Wednesday.

Arranged to work from home for the time being, Cheung has been testing negative for COVID-19 so far, added the spokesman.

Official Receiver Phyllis McKenna has tested positive for COVID-19 through a rapid antigen test, according to a spokesman of her office.

In isolation, McKenna last worked in the office on Dec 20 and has no travel history, the spokesperson added.

Both Cheung and McKenna wore masks and followed relevant disease prevention measures at work, according to their spokesmen.