A woman wearing a face mask walks a dog down a flight of stairs in Hong Kong, March 15, 2022. (KIN CHEUNG / AP)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 4,270 new COVID-19 cases and six deaths on Friday, as the Hospital Authority said they will dedicate more beds at public hospitals to COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms.

Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said in a news briefing that the new cases comprised 180 imported infections and 4,090 local cases. Six patients died, bringing the city's toll to 9,241. 

Two men and four women, aged from 72 to 97, who are infected with COVID-19 has passed away. They also had chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, dementia, lung disease, and coronary heart diseases

Larry Lee Lap-yip, chief manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, said at the same briefing that the two men and four women who passed away aged from 72 to 97. They also had chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, dementia, lung disease, and coronary heart diseases.

One of them had received one dose of COVID-19 vaccination, two of them two doses and another two three doses. One patient did not have any vaccination record, he added.

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Lee said more than 1,200 patients were being treated as of Friday in public hospitals, including 170 new patients.

Eighteen of them were in critical condition, including two receiving intensive care, and 29 in serious condition, he added.

The Hospital Authority is ready to deploy 2,500 beds from public hospitals – up from the current 1,200 – for the admission of severe COVID-19 patients, according to Lee.

“More than 1,200 COVID-19 patients are receiving treatment at public hospitals and we saw 170 new admissions today. As such, phase 2 of the emergency response mechanism has been triggered,” he said.

Lee added that more non-emergency services, elective surgeries in particular, are set to be affected. 

He called on members of the public who have not yet received the third dose of COVID-19 vaccine to do so as soon as possible to reduce the risk of infection. 

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Of the 180 imported cases, 78 were detected at the airport, 97 at quarantine hotels and five after they had finished their quarantine, according to Chuang

She also said that 340 schools reported 442 cases, involving 365 students and 77 staff members. Eight classes in eight schools were to suspend for one week after each has at least one student or teaching staff confirmed infected.