CHP investigates locally acquired SARS-CoV-2 virus cases with 4 475 cases tested positive by nucleic acid tests and 14 853 cases by RATs as well as 924 imported cases

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (December 23) announced the latest epidemic situation of COVID-19. As of 0.00am, December 23, the CHP was investigating 19 328 additional locally acquired cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, comprising 4 475 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (2 192 confirmed cases, 1 850 asymptomatic cases and 433 cases with pending status) and 14 853 cases that tested positive by rapid antigen tests (RATs) in the past 24 hours.

     Separately, 924 additional imported cases were reported, including 772 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (148 confirmed cases, 581 asymptomatic cases and 43 cases with pending status) and 152 cases that tested positive by RATs. Among the additional imported cases, 518 of them involved samples at the airport, 301 of them involved samples during Day 1 to Day 3, and the remaining 105 involved samples during Day 4 to Day 7.

     Hong Kong has recorded a total of 1 133 482 and 1 308 713 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" ( for more information.

     The CHP has been closely monitoring the situation of positive cases involving mutant strains by genetic analysis. As of 0.00am, December 23, the DH's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) had identified 226 cases of sub-lineage XBB, six of XBD, eight of BA.2.75.2, seven of BA.4.6, 13 of BF.7 and 38 of BQ.1.1 among imported cases in Hong Kong, while 153 cases of sub-lineage XBB, 18 of XBD, one of BA.2.75.2, 11 of BF.7 and 179 of BQ.1.1 have also been detected among local cases.

     Among the specimens received by the DH's PHLSB during December 14 to 20 for verification testing of local cases, 0 per cent and about 52.77 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, December 23, a total of 11 160 death cases that had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the fifth wave (since December 31, 2021) were recorded, with 11 054 and 102 deaths reported from the Hospital Authority and public mortuaries respectively as well as four deaths reported from private hospitals. Hong Kong has so far recorded a total of 11 373 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 (December 22), the total number of confirmed cases was 493 274, while the figures for asymptomatic cases, re-positive cases and pending/unknown cases recorded since January 1 were 384 659, 31 and 250 271 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 (

Ends/Friday, December 23, 2022
Issued at HKT 16:55