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CHP investigates 3 332 confirmed and 2 537 asymptomatic additional SARS-CoV-2 virus cases with 6 087 cases pending status by nucleic acid tests as well as 15 809 cases tested positive by rapid antigen tests
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     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (March 15) announced the latest epidemic situation of COVID-19. As of 0.00am, March 15, the CHP was investigating 11 956 additional cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus by nucleic acid tests (3 332 confirmed cases, 2 537 asymptomatic cases and 6 087 cases with pending case status) in the past 24 hours. Separately, 15 809 additional positive cases through rapid antigen tests (RAT) (10 665 symptomatic cases and 5 144 asymptomatic cases) were reported. Hong Kong has recorded a total of 647 631 and 113 919 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests and RAT respectively for the SARS-CoV-2 virus so far.

     The aforementioned newly reported cases consist of four imported cases and 11 952 locally acquired cases tested positive by nucleic acid tests, as well as 15 809 locally acquired cases tested positive by RAT. The CHP is continuing with epidemiological investigations on the cases. A list of buildings related to the cases is available at the "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk).

     In addition, as of 0.00am, March 15, a total of 4 355 deaths related to COVID-19 during the fifth wave (since December 31, 2021) was recorded, with 4 341 and 14 deaths reported from the Hospital Authority and public mortuaries respectively. Hong Kong has so far recorded a total of 4 568 deaths related to COVID-19.

     Furthermore, among the earlier cases by nucleic acid tests reported, there were cases (including pending cases) changed to confirmed, asymptomatic or re-positive cases. As at yesterday (March 14), the total number of confirmed cases was 263 555, while the figures for asymptomatic cases, re-positive cases, pending/unknown cases recorded since January 1 were 128 492, 10 and 243 618 respectively.

     The spokesman for the CHP stressed that the local situation of COVID-19 infection became severe recently and there is a continuous increase in the number of cases involving mutant strains that carry higher transmissibility. With the higher transmissibility and risk of infection of the Omicron mutant strain, the CHP strongly appeals to the community to continue to comply with the social distancing measures, avoid going out and refrain from participating in unnecessary or crowded activities or gatherings (particularly religious or cross-family activities and gatherings). This would lower the risk of infection and prevent the virus from spreading in the community.

     ‚ÄčThe spokesman reminded that COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective in preventing severe cases and deaths from the SARS-CoV-2 virus. They can provide effective protection to those vaccinated in preventing serious complications and even death after infection. People who are yet to receive vaccination, especially senior citizens, chronic patients and other immunocompromised persons who face a higher chance of death after COVID-19 infection, should get vaccinated as early as possible for self-protection and to reduce the risk of falling seriously ill and death should they get infected. Meanwhile, a person who gets COVID-19 and influenza at the same time may be more seriously ill and would have a higher risk of death. Influenza vaccination may reduce the likelihood of hospitalisation and the length of stay. In addition, seasonal influenza vaccination is recommended for all persons aged 6 months or above except those with known contraindications. Persons at higher risk of getting influenza and its complications, including the elderly and children, should receive seasonal influenza vaccination early. Please see details of the vaccination schemes on the CHP's website (www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/17980.html).
 
Ends/Tuesday, March 15, 2022
Issued at HKT 20:40
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