People get off a tour boat at a pier in Hong Kong on April 26, 2022.
(DALE DE LA REY / AFP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 413 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday as the city banned Air Canada flights from Vancouver.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said in a news briefing that the new infections included 24 imported cases and 389 local infections.
Of the 24 imported cases, seven were detected at the airport, including three that came from Canada, two from Singapore, and one each from Australia and Thailand
She said 206 of the cases were confirmed through nucleic acid tests and 207 by rapid antigen tests. Nine students and one school staff member tested positive through RAT and nucleic acid tests.
Chuang said a 40-year-old man who returned from South Africa via Doha on April 23 tested positive for the BA.5 variant.
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“Upon arrival, he tested positive and was sent to a quarantine hotel. He had no symptoms and he traveled alone. So, that’s the second case found with BA.5 strain in Hong Kong,” Chuang said.
The city recorded its first BA.5 infection on April 16, also involving another traveler from South Africa. The World Health Organization is still assessing the risks posed by the new Omicron variant.
Of the 24 imported cases on Thursday, seven were detected at the airport, including three that came from Canada, two from Singapore, and one each from Australia and Thailand, Chuang said.
Since an Air Canada flight from Vancouver on April 27 had three passengers who tested positive upon arrival, Air Canada flights from Vancouver are suspended from April 29 to May 5.
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Lau Ka-hin, chief manager (quality and standards) of the Hospital Authority, said five patients who tested positive for COVID-19 passed away in the last 24 hours, including four men and one woman aged 60 to 95, bringing the tally during the fifth wave of the pandemic to 9,074.
He said three of them came from residential care homes and four did not have any vaccination records.
Lau added that two patients were in serious condition while 11 critical patients were being treated in intensive care units.
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