People commute on a Star Ferry across Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong on April 13, 2022. (DALE DE LA REY / AFP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 1,043 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday, a drop from 1,272 on Wednesday, as a traveler from South Africa tested positive for the Omicron BA.5 sub-variant during quarantine.
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 23 imported cases and 1,020 local infections.
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 23 imported cases and 1,020 local infections
She said 579 of the cases were confirmed through nucleic acid tests and 464 by rapid antigen tests.
The 23 imported cases involved travelers from Indonesia, Australia, the United Kingdom, Thailand, Singapore, the United States, South Korea, Greece, Portugal, and the Philippines, she added.
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Chuang also said that a 24-year-old man tested positive for the BA.5 sub-variant during quarantine at the Bridal Tea House hotel after arriving from South Africa via Ethiopia on April 6.
“He developed a fever and some cough and headache on April 9…He recovered already and has become asymptomatic. He did not need to be hospitalized,” she said.
Chuang said the traveler was transferred to Regala Skycity Hotel for isolation and he is still staying there.
Quoting the World Health Organization, Chuang said BA.5 is a sub-variant of Omicron that had been identified in other countries and "has to be monitored”.
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“Its public health impact has yet to be investigated..whether it is more transmissible or what. No detailed information is available..We will continue to monitor the situation,” Chuang said.
Larry Lee Lap-yip, chief manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, also said at the same briefing that 33 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 died in the last 24 hours, including 17 men and 16 women aged 57 to 101 years old.
He said 18 patients came from residential care homes while 25 did not have vaccination records.
There were also 21 deaths between March 3 and April 13, involving eight men and 13 women aged 82 to 102, that were not reported earlier, Lee said.
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He added that 58 critical patients were being treated in hospital intensive care units while 13 were in serious condition.