In this picture taken on Oct 30, 2021, a woman scans a QR code for the government's "Leave Home Safe" mobile application to trace people in the event of any COVID-19 outbreaks in Hong Kong. (BERTHA WANG / AFP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong health authorities confirmed five imported cases of COVID-19 infection on Monday, taking the tally to 12,467.
In a statement, the Centre for Health Protection said all the five cases involved the mutant strain L452R. The financial hub has seen no local case since early October.
The newly reported patients included a 35-year-old air crew member who flew in from Finland. She was a close contact of an imported case confirmed previously, according to the CHP. She developed symptoms on Dec 3 and tested positive at the Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre.
The other patients involved a 48-year-old woman who had visited Pakistan and Turkey, a 34-year-old man from South Korea, a 29-year-old man from Turkey and a 37-year-old man from Russia.
All the five patients were fully vaccinated, with one man taking the Sputnik V vaccine in Russia and the remaining the BioNTech shot in Hong Kong
The three men tested positive during quarantine while the remaining female patient tested positive during the "test-and-hold" arrangement upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport, the CHP said.
All the patients were fully vaccinated, with one man taking the Sputnik V vaccine in Russia and the remaining the BioNTech shot in Hong Kong.
A total of 60 cases have been reported from Nov 22 to Dec 5 and all of them were imported, the CHP noted.
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Starting from Monday, Hong Kong residents could make appointments to receive the BioNTech vaccine at 24 venues of the eight private healthcare institutions that have enrolled in the BioNTech vaccination pilot scheme, the government said in a separate statement.
The pilot scheme was launhced to further facilitate vaccination by expanding the vaccination network of the BioNTech vaccine, the government said.
Residents who opt to take the Sinovace shot could visit private doctors and clinics participating in the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, the government added.
Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen (back row, center) visits a clinic participating in the BioNTech vaccination pilot scheme in Central on Dec 6, 2021 to inspect the arrangements for vaccination services. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVERNMENT)
During a visit on Monday to one of the clinics participating in the pilot scheme, Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip Tak-kuen said the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme was now providing the vaccination service through a variety of vaccination venues, and the launch of non-governmental venues offering the BioNTech vaccine was an example.
Getting vaccinated with either the Sinovac vaccine or the BioNTech jab at the private clinics under the program was free of charge, Nip added.
He called on the city’s residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible to protect themselves against the threat posed by mutant strains.
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Since the launch of the government inoculation program in late February, over 4.78 million people, or 71 percent of the eligible population, have taken at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccines, while over 4.56 million, or 67.6 percent, are fully vaccinated.
A total of 207,656 people have taken the booster shot in Hong Kong as of 7 pm local time Sunday.
The government expects the third-dose vaccination to cover 1.86 million people.
With Xinhua inputs