A woman walks past a pub in Lan Kwai Fong where bars reopen as the government further relaxes social distancing rules on May 19, 2022. (CALVIN NG / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 243 new COVID-19 cases on Friday as health authorities took steps to prevent the spread of the highly infectious Omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant in the community.
The new cases included 217 local infections and 26 imported cases, Albert Au, principal medical and health officer of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said at a press briefing.
The new cases included 217 local infections and 26 imported cases, Albert Au, principal medical and health officer of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection
He said 101 were detected throught nucleic acid testing and 142 by rapid antigen tests.
Among the imported cases, 17 were detected at the airport and eight at quarantine hotels, involving travelers from Canada, Taiwan, Singapore, the US, Indonesia, France, the UAE, Spain and Australia, Au said.
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The remaining case involving a 46-year-old man from India was found on his 12th day of arrival in Hong Kong. The authorities believed he is a re-positive case.
Au added that 11 more travelers aged 19 to 65 tested positive for the BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant, bringing the total number of such cases in the financial hub to 46.
Among them, a couple from the US tested positive at a community testing center on the 12th day of their arrival in Hong Kong. They have tested negative during their quarantine stay at Room 3204 of Lan Kwai Fong Hotel in Central district.
The woman, 64, developed a fever and cough on May 12 before testing positive for the virus on May 14. The man, 65, did not show symptoms and tested positive on the same day.
Health authorities suspected that the couple might have contracted the virus from travelers from Nepal staying in another room of the hotel.
“Microbiologist and government adviser Yuen Kwok-yung will visit the hotel to determine if the virus had spread there,” Au said.
Eleven places where the couple visited between May 10 and May 15 will be included in the compulsory testing notice, Au added.
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Meanwhile, Lau Ka-hin, chief manager (quality and standards) of the Hospital Authority, said in the same briefing that four people infected with COVID-19 have passed away. Three of the patients, aged between 64 and 95, had no vaccination record.
The number of COVID-19 patients who passed away in the fifth wave of the pandemic stood at 9,157.