A passenger takes photos on a Star Ferry on Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong on May 4, 2022. (PETER PARKS / AFP)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 1,873 new COVID-19 cases on Monday as the government announced that existing social distancing measures will be extended for two more weeks.

The new cases comprised 1,719 local infections and 154 imported cases, Albert Au Ka-wing, principal medical and health officer of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said in a press briefing.

The new cases comprised 1,719 local infections and 154 imported cases, said Albert Au Ka-wing, principal medical and health officer of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch

He added 609 were confirmed through nucleic acid tests and 1,110 by rapid antigen tests.

“Recently, the daily caseload has remained between 1,500 to 1,800. It’s a slowly increasing trend. We do not expect the number of cases to multiply,” Au said.

He said the 154 imported cases included 70 that were detected at the airport, 58 in quarantine hotels, and 26 at the end of their quarantine.

ALSO READ: HK to distribute 190,000 RAT kits after virus found in sewage  

Au said 464 cases were also reported from 335 schools, including in seven schools that each had at least one class suspended due to a possible outbreak.

Au also said that the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department determined that the fresh air ventilation and the air exchange volume at the Victoria Harbour Restaurant in Tuen Mun were substandard. The restaurant had an outbreak that led to 41 patrons being infected. 

Au said the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department has told the restaurant’s management to improve its ventilation system.

Lau Ka-hin, chief manager (quality and standards) of the Hospital Authority, said in the same briefing that 625 COVID-19 patients, including 77 new cases, were being treated in the city’s hospitals.

ALSO READ: HK food dept shuts 3 bars over virus rules violations

He said 11 were in critical condition, including three in intensive care units, and 15 in serious condition. There were no new reported deaths on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government on said in a statement that it will extend existing social distancing measures by 14 more days starting June 30 due to the current pandemic situation. 

“This includes continuing to require all patrons of bars, pubs, clubs and nightclubs to undergo a test and obtain a negative result before entering the relevant premises in order to better contain virus transmission,” the statement reads.

FDH contracts

The government also said in a separate statement that it will continue to allow employers to extend the validity of the existing contracts with their outgoing foreign domestic helpers. 

For all FDH contracts that will expire on or before September 30, 2022, the Commissioner for Labour has given in-principle consent to extend the employment period for a maximum period of six months if both employer and FDH agree.

READ MORE: HK logs 1,917 cases, including 118 imported infections

However, contracts that have already been extended under previous arrangements will not be extended again.

If arrangements cannot be made for a newly hired FDH to come to Hong Kong within the six-month extended period, the employer should consider applying for a contract renewal for her current FDH, the government said.

A spokesman for the University Grants Committee Secretariat also said that Secretary-General of the UGC James Tang has tested positive for COVID-19. He added that Tang is undergoing isolation in accordance with the guidelines of the CHP.

Tang last went to work on June 24 and followed social distancing rules, including regularly taking rapid antigen tests that showed negative results. He has no recent travel history, the spokesman said.