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CHP investigates locally acquired SARS-CoV-2 virus cases with 1 350 cases tested positive by nucleic acid tests and 3 793 cases by RATs as well as 392 imported cases
     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (October 23) announced the latest epidemic situation of COVID-19. As of 0.00am, October 23, the CHP was investigating 5 143 additional locally acquired cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, comprising 1 350 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (642 confirmed cases, 580 asymptomatic cases and 128 cases with pending status) and 3 793 cases that tested positive by rapid antigen tests (RATs) in the past 24 hours.

     Separately, 392 additional imported cases were reported, including 349 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (49 confirmed cases, 287 asymptomatic cases and 13 cases with pending status) and 43 cases that tested positive by RATs. Among the additional imported cases, 260 of them involved samples at the airport, 83 of them involved samples during Day 1 to Day 3, and the remaining 49 involved samples during Day 4 to Day 7.

     Hong Kong has recorded a total of 984 476 and 891 125 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 23, the DH's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) had identified 132 cases of sub-lineage XBB, six of XBD, six of BA.2.75.2, four of BA.4.6, eight of BF.7 and 12 of BQ.1.1 among imported cases in Hong Kong, while five 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 14 to 20 for verification testing of local cases, about 0.1 per cent and 91.5 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 23, a total of 10 113 death cases that had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the fifth wave (since December 31, 2021) were recorded, with 10 028 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 10 326 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 22), the total number of confirmed cases was 428 561, while the figures for asymptomatic cases, re-positive cases and pending/unknown cases recorded since January 1 were 310 537, 31 and 243 648 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/Sunday, October 23, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:30
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