People walk past a government's contact tracing QR code for the "LeaveHomeSafe" COVID-19 mobile app at a shopping mall in Hong Kong, July 12, 2022. (KIN CHEUNG / AP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong will require hospital visitors to take a nucleic acid test for COVID-19 before they can enter public hospitals starting Aug 1 as the city recorded 4,886 new cases on Thursday.
Gladys Kwan, Chief Manager (Clinical Effectiveness and Technology Management) of the Hospital Authority, said in a news briefing, that visitors with “special visiting arrangements”, including those who had recovered from COVID, should take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) nucleic acid test within 48 hours before their visit.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said the new cases on Thursday comprised 4,638 local infections and 248 imported cases
“Our patients are very vulnerable to infections..This (testing requirement) applies to those with special visiting arrangements and not to the elderly who are already patients,” Kwan said.
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Kwan said 1,384 COVID patients were being treated in public hospitals as of Thursday, including 155 new patients. Twenty-two were in critical condition, including six in intensive care, and 11 in serious condition.
Kwan added that five patients passed away, bringing the city’s toll during the fifth wave of infections to 9,270. They included three men and two women aged 56 to 100 years old. They had also suffered from chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension and pulmonary disease.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said at the same briefing that the new cases on Thursday comprised 4,638 local infections and 248 imported cases.
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She said the imported cases included 42 from the United Kingdom, 26 from the Philippines, 22 from the United States, 19 from Singapore, and 10 from India.
A 22-month-old baby girl is in critical condition at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital after suffering seizures and brain edema. Her three-year-old sister tested positive for the virus, Lau Yu-lung, a member of the government’s COVID-19 Expert Advisory Panel, also said at the briefing.
“She lives in the outlying islands and had some fever, chills, and cough. Around 7 pm (Wednesday), she had seizures,” Lau said.
He said the baby was brought to the hospital by helicopter at 9:30 pm and is now intubated in the intensive care unit.
READ MORE: HK steps up testing for hospital staff, patients; tally 4,130
“There is worry as there could be some problem with the brain. There could be an acute ischemic brain infection caused by COVID,” Lau said.
He said the expert panel will meet next week to decide on whether to recommend vaccine jabs for children below 3 years old.