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CHP investigates locally acquired SARS-CoV-2 virus cases with 1 252 cases tested positive by nucleic acid tests and 3 482 cases by RATs as well as 390 imported cases
     ​The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (October 19) announced the latest epidemic situation of COVID-19. As of 0.00am, October 19, the CHP was investigating 4 734 additional locally acquired cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, comprising 1 252 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (561 confirmed cases, 560 asymptomatic cases and 131 cases with pending status) and 3 482 cases that tested positive by rapid antigen tests (RATs) in the past 24 hours.

     Separately, 390 additional imported cases were reported, including 369 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (50 confirmed cases, 302 asymptomatic cases and 17 cases with pending status) and 21 cases that tested positive by RATs. Among the additional imported cases, 255 of them involved samples at the airport, 89 of them involved samples during Day 1 to Day 3, and the remaining 46 involved samples during Day 4 to Day 7.

     Hong Kong has recorded a total of 978 066 and 875 221 cases that have tested positive by nucleic acid tests and RATs respectively for the SARS-CoV-2 virus so far.

     The CHP is continuing with epidemiological investigations of the cases. Please refer to the Annex and the "COVID-19 Thematic Website" (www.coronavirus.gov.hk) for more information.
     The CHP has been closely monitoring the situation of tested positive cases involving mutant strains by genetic analysis. As of 0.00am, October 19, the DH's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) had identified 99, two, four, one, five and nine cases of sub-lineages XBB, XBD, BA.2.75.2, BA.4.6, BF.7 and BQ.1.1 respectively among imported cases in Hong Kong, while two cases of XBD have also been detected among local cases.

     Among the specimens received by the DH's PHLSB during October 10 to 16 for verification testing of local cases, about 0.5 per cent and 92.5 per cent of them (seven-day moving average) are related to the sub-lineages BA.2.12.1 and BA.4/BA.5 (including suspected cases) of the Omicron mutant strain respectively.

     In addition, as of 0.00am, October 19, a total of 10 084 death cases that had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the fifth wave (since December 31, 2021) were recorded, with 9 999 and 82 deaths reported from the Hospital Authority and public mortuaries respectively as well as three deaths reported from the Chinese University of Hong Kong Medical Centre. Hong Kong has so far recorded a total of 10 297 death cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

     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 (October 18), the total number of confirmed cases was 425 954, while the figures for asymptomatic cases, re-positive cases and pending/unknown cases recorded since January 1 were 307 168, 31 and 243 292 respectively.

     The spokesman for the CHP said 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 have yet to receive vaccination, especially senior citizens, chronic patients, children, 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.

     ​The CHP appeals to the community to keep on maintaining personal hygiene and comply with social distancing measures in order to jointly contain the risk of virus transmission. ​​The spokesman reminded members of the public that they can call various hotlines to make enquiries on COVID-19 (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/index.html#hotline).
Ends/Wednesday, October 19, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:45
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