People are seen at the West Kowloon Cultural district overlooking Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong on Oct 27, 2022. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)

HONG KONG – The number of new COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong went up slightly on Saturday from the day before with the city recording 5,723 infections and six related deaths.

Of the new cases, 5,331 were locally transmitted while the rest imported, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health said in a press release.

The health authorities had for the first time found a patient who was infected with the BF.7 variant locally.

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The city recorded 5,599 cases on Friday, 5,697 the day before and 5,068 on Wednesday.

The health authorities had for the first time found a patient who was infected with the BF.7 variant locally

According to the CHP, 1,266 of the locally-acquired cases were found through nucleic acid tests and 4,065 cases tested positive by rapid antigen tests (RATs).

Meanwhile, 392 additional imported cases were reported on Saturday. Among those, 202 involved samples taken at the Hong Kong International Airport, 121 involved samples taken on day 1 to day 3 of their arrivals, while the remaining 69 involved samples during day 4 to day 7.

The Public Health Laboratory Services Branch had identified 217 cases of sub-lineage XBB, six of XBD, eight of BA.2.75.2, seven of BA.4.6, 11 of BF.7 and 32 of BQ.1.1 among imported cases.

Among the locally transmitted cases, 24 were of sub-lineage XBB, 15 of XBD, one of BA.2.75.2, one of BF.7 and 31 of BQ.1.1, added the CHP.

The demise of six more patients took the tally of deaths from coronavirus infection to 10,517.

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The Hospital Authority said in a separate statement that 2,012 COVID-19 patients, including 230 new ones, are currently undergoing treatment at various hospitals. 

There are five newly reported critical patients and nine newly reported serious patients, it said, adding that 32 patients are in critical condition while 41 are in serious condition.