A woman scans a government's contact tracing QR code for the "LeaveHomeSafe" COVID-19 mobile app at a shopping mall in Hong Kong, July 12, 2022. (KIN CHEUNG / AP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong recorded 3,486 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday as four more patients infected with the coronavirus passed away, health authorities said.
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 173 imported infections and 3,313 local cases.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said the imported cases included 45 from the United Kingdom, 17 from the United States, and 14 from Thailand
She said the imported cases included 45 from the United Kingdom, 17 from the United States, and 14 from Thailand.
ALSO READ: HK sees 3,762 new COVID-19 cases, school bus cluster grows
“You see the daily case count going up slowly. In roughly two weeks, the daily case count will double..The real-time reproduction rate, monitored by the HKU (The University of Hong Kong) is roughly 1.7, which is on the high side and it is still going up," Chuang said.
“We are worried that this may have an impact that will create pressure on our healthcare system."
She said 43 suspected Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 cases were detected, including 28 that were untraceable, while 41 BA.4 or BA.5 infections were also found.
Chuang also said that four residential care homes reported cases while two schools each had to suspend a class after infections were detected.
“What we are seeing now is small-scale transmissions involving maybe two or three students each class,” Chuang said. “In some cases, we recommend class suspension, but we do not see subsequent major outbreaks at those schools.”
ALSO READ: HK to tighten virus testing measures in hospitals, tally 3,154
Larry Lee Lap-yip, chief manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, said at the same briefing that four COVID-19 female patients, aged 71 to 94 years old, passed away, bringing the city’s toll to 9,224.
The four elderly women all suffered from hypertension while one had cancer and two had pneumonia, he added.
Lee said that, as of Sunday, 1,122 patients were being treated in public hospitals, including 126 who were newly infected.
He added that hospital staff members who take care of high-risk patients, like those with cancer or those who require dialysis, will have to take two extra virus tests per week starting next Monday.
“We saw many new cases in the community in recent days. That is why staff testing has been reinforced,” Lee said.
READ MORE: Quarantine-free entry for HK visitors likely in November
He said that the total number of staff members who had been infected stood at 25,131, up by 40 from yesterday.
Meanwhile, Yuen Pak-leung, chairman of the government working group on air change or air purifiers in catering premises, said the "air change per hour" in these premises should "reach at least six times per hour" or they would be closed down until they comply.
“The number of daily new cases in Hong Kong has been rising gradually from the recent level of 3,000. Operators, staff and customers of catering premises must not lower their guard to avoid the emergence of large-scale infections,” Yuen said after visiting a bar in Central and a restaurant in Tuen Mun that had reported outbreaks earlier.