People wearing face masks walk on a street in Hong Kong, south China, Feb 11, 2022. (LO PING FAI / XINHUA)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong reported 5,990 new COVID-19 infections on Thursday as local health authorities said a gradual downward trend of the pandemic suggested the fifth wave might have peaked.
Gladys Kwan, chief manager (Medical Grade) of the Hospital Authority, noted 17 more COVID patients aged 55 to 99 have passed away
Albert Au, principal medical and health officer of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health, said at a press briefing that the new cases comprised 5,827 local infections and 163 imported ones.
Au said that the seven-day moving average of cases have decreased to below 7,000 last week from more than 10,000 in early September, suggesting that the fifth wave of the pandemic might have peaked.
“The Omicron BA.5 sub-variant is accounting for 78.36 percent of the city’s new cases,” Au said. “When the percentage reaches 80 percent we expect local infections to reach a plateau and the pandemic situation stabilized,” he added.
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When asked by a reporter if the government will further cut quarantine time for inbound travelers, Au said that the overriding principle is whether it can identify positive cases promptly. “The government will announce any new decisions as soon as possible,” he added.
He also said that among the 163 imported cases, 58 were detected at the airport, 57 at quarantine hotels or centers, 45 at community centers and five after the traveler’s quarantine period was over.
The imported cases came from 40 countries, with the UK, the Philippines, the US and Thailand each reporting more than 10 cases.
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Au also indicated that 520 schools reported a total of 746 cases, involving 636 students and 110 teaching staff, with 18 schools having to suspend one class each due to the emergence of clusters.
At the same briefing, Gladys Kwan, chief manager (Medical Grade) of the Hospital Authority, said that most residents are fit for COVID vaccination. She called on those who are unfit for the vaccination to seek medical advice instead of purchasing fake medical exemption certificates.
Her remarks came as local police arrested three more doctors on Thursday morning on suspicion of issuing COVID-19 vaccination-exemption certificates without proper medical reasons, according to the local media.
Kwan noted 17 more COVID patients aged 55 to 99 have passed away. Twelve of them had yet to complete the COVID vaccination course.
She also said currently there are 2,290 COVID-patients being treated in public hospitals, including 245 new admissions. Forty-nine of them are in critical condition, including 20 under intensive care, while 41 are in serious condition.
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