Staff disinfect a restaurant in Tseung Kwan O, Hong Kong on July 15, 2020. (RAYMOND CHAN / CHINA DAILY)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong saw a slight drop in its daily COVID-19 caseload to 7,835 on Friday, as banquet-goers will be required to present a negative test before entry starting from Sunday.
Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau said at a news briefing that the number of new virus cases has been rising rapidly in the past two weeks, with the reproduction number reaching 1.44 as of Friday.
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“That means cases could double within two weeks and will soon exceed 10,000,” he said.
Secretary for Health Lo Chung-mau said at a news briefing that the number of new virus cases has been rising rapidly in the past two weeks, with the reproduction number reaching 1.44 as of Friday
As one of the new targeted measures to curb the spread of the virus, Lo said patrons attending a banquet of more than eight people must present a negative rapid test result taken within 24 hours before entering the eatery from Sunday. Alternatively, they could present a negative result of a polymerase chain reaction test taken within 48 hours.
To better protect the elderly, unvaccinated people aged over 70 who are infected must be isolated at community facilities, Lo said.
Meanwhile, high-risk people living with confirmed patients undergoing home quarantine must also be sent to the government's quarantine centers, he added.
Employees of residential care homes will need to take a COVID test every other day. The arrangement will be further extended to those working in high-risk wards at public hospitals, Lo said.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said at the same briefing that the new cases comprised 7,665 local infections and 170 imported ones. Seven new deaths also brought the city’s toll during the fifth wave to 9,437.
Of the 170 imported cases, 55 were detected at the airport, 38 in quarantine hotels, and 63 at community testing centers. Twenty-two cases involved travelers from the UK, 19 from India, 18 from the Philippines and 15 from the United States.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said at a briefing that the new cases comprised 7,665 local infections and 170 imported ones. Seven new deaths also brought the city’s toll during the fifth wave to 9,437
The city’s reported 8,579 new infections on Thursday, crossing the 8,000 mark for the first time since May 27.
Chuang also said 67 schools reported 74 students and 42 staff members getting infected.
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Larry Lee Lap-yip, chief manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, said in the same briefing that the seven COVID patients who died involved seven men aged 79 to 95 years old. Four of them were not fully vaccinated.
Lee said 2,324 COVID patients were being treated in public hospitals as of Friday, including 322 new patients. Forty were in critical condition, including 13 receiving intensive care, and 24 in serious condition.
Commerce chief tests positive
Also on Friday, the Commerce and Economic Development Bureau said that Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Algernon Yau has tested preliminarily positive for COVID-19. Yau last went to work on Thursday, according to the department.
“He wore masks and followed relevant disease prevention measures at work, including conducting rapid antigen tests daily. He has no recent travel history,” it added. Yau is currently undergoing isolation.
Under Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Bernard Chan and Political Assistant to the Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development Bruce Lee have been identified as close contacts and are undergoing home quarantine. They both tested negative via rapid antigen test Friday.
The department added that it would conduct thorough cleaning and disinfection at the relevant offices.