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CHP investigates locally acquired SARS-CoV-2 virus cases with 1 183 cases tested positive by nucleic acid tests and 3 840 cases by RATs as well as 370 imported cases
     ​The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (October 21) announced the latest epidemic situation of COVID-19. As of 0.00am, October 21, the CHP was investigating 5 023 additional locally acquired cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, comprising 1 183 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (460 confirmed cases, 591 asymptomatic cases and 132 cases with pending status) and 3 840 cases that tested positive by rapid antigen tests (RATs) in the past 24 hours.

     Separately, 370 additional imported cases were reported, including 332 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (51 confirmed cases, 257 asymptomatic cases and 24 cases with pending status) and 38 cases that tested positive by RATs. Among the additional imported cases, 230 of them involved samples at the airport, 102 of them involved samples during Day 1 to Day 3, and the remaining 38 involved samples during Day 4 to Day 7.

     Hong Kong has recorded a total of 980 807 and 883 306 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 21, the DH's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) had identified 118 cases of sub-lineage XBB, five of XBD, six of BA.2.75.2, four of BA.4.6, seven of BF.7 and 11 of BQ.1.1 among imported cases in Hong Kong, while four cases of sub-lineage XBD and two of BQ.1.1 have also been detected among local cases.

     Among the specimens received by the DH's PHLSB during October 12 to 18 for verification testing of local cases, about 0.6 per cent and 91.6 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 21, a total of 10 102 death cases that had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the fifth wave (since December 31, 2021) were recorded, with 10 017 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 10 315 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 20), the total number of confirmed cases was 427 101, while the figures for asymptomatic cases, re-positive cases and pending/unknown cases recorded since January 1 were 308 714, 31 and 243 446 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/Friday, October 21, 2022
Issued at HKT 17:03
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