A man rides a bicycle next to Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong on April 7, 2022.

HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 2,492 new COVID-19 cases as government health officials called on all residents to take part in the voluntary three-day self-test exercise that began on Friday.

Albert Au Ka-wing, principal medical and health officer of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said in a press briefing that the new cases included 2,884 local infections and eight imported cases.  

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He said 1,227 infections were confirmed through nucleic acid tests and 1,265 by rapid antigen tests.

Friday's daily infection count was lower than Thursday's 2,644 cases and brought the city's infection tally to 1.173 million.

The eight imported cases involved travelers from Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, Australia and Germany

The imported cases involved travelers from Singapore, Ireland, South Korea, Australia and Germany. Three of the cases were detected through the "test-and-hold" arrangement at the Hong Kong International Airport while the remaining five were found during isolation at quarantine hotels, Au said.

Au also said that the number of patients infected with COVID-19 who passed away rose by 86 to 8,430, with the mortality rate increasing to 0.72 percent.

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As the city kicked off a three-day universal voluntary self-test exercise, Au called on all residents to take the rapid antigen test with the self-test kits provided by the government in the anti-epidemic service bags distributed earlier this week.

The program aims to give the city's authorities a snapshot of the current pandemic situation in Hong Kong and formulate further anti-pandemic measures, he said.

"The more residents take part in the exercise, the more effective it would be," Au added.

Lau Ka-hin, chief manager (quality and standards) of the Hospital Authority, said in the same briefing that 70 patients infected with COVID-19 died in the last 24 hours, comprising 37 men and 33 women aged 45 to 101 years old. 

He said 45 patients came from residential care homes and 36 were not vaccinated.

Two younger patients who passed away were both chronic patients, Lee added. The 45-year-old woman suffered from cirrhosis while a 60-year-old man had lung cancer that had metastasized, he added.