A child (center) plays with bubbles next to Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong on April 7, 2022.

HONG KONG – Hong Kong logged 2,535 new COVID-19 cases on Saturday, more than the 2,492 cases reported Friday, as the three-day universal self-test program entered its second day.

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 13 imported cases and 2,522 local ones.

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She said 897 infections were confirmed through nucleic acid tests, a decrease from Friday's 1,227, while 1,638 cases were confirmed by rapid antigen tests, a jump from 1,265 from the previous day.

Among the 13 imported cases were six travelers who flew into Hong Kong from Indonesia on Cathay Pacific flight CX 798

Among the 13 imported cases were six travelers who flew into Hong Kong from Indonesia on Cathay Pacific flight CX 798, according to Chuang. They, along with three other imported cases, were detected at the airport on Friday, while the remaining four cases involved travelers who had arrived earlier.

Chuang also said that 62 more patients infected with COVID-19 had passed away, bringing the death toll in the city's fifth wave of COVID-19 to 8,492. The mortality rate stood at 0.72 percent.

Chuang said the jump in the number of infections confirmed via rapid tests reflected residents' participation in the three-day voluntary self-test program that started on Friday.

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"We have been seeing continuous decreases in the number of cases confirmed via both nucleic acid tests and rapid tests. But yesterday there was a jump in cases detected through rapid tests," Chuang said.

"This showed that members of the public were doing the self-test and reporting positive results," she added.

Chuang also noted that around 70 percent of the new cases were asymptomatic, as compared to only around 35 percent on average before. 

"This again reflected that people who had no symptoms were taking part in the voluntary self-test exercise," Chuang.

Residents are encouraged to do self-test for COVID-19 for three consecutive days from Friday and reported positive results within 24 hours to give the city's authorities a snapshot of the current pandemic situation in Hong Kong and formulate further anti-pandemic measures.

Lau Ka-hin, chief manager (quality and standards) of the Hospital Authority, said in the same briefing that 53 patients infected with COVID-19 died in the last 24 hours, comprising 35 men and 18 women aged 58 to 107 years old. 

He said 34 patients came from residential care homes and 34 were not vaccinated.

Two younger patients who passed away were both chronic patients, Lee added. The 58-year-old man had a neuroendocrine tumor that had metastasized. Meanwhile, a 60-year-old bedridden motor neuron disease patient also suffered from diabetes and hypertension, Lau said.