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CHP investigates locally acquired SARS-CoV-2 virus cases with 4 360 cases tested positive by nucleic acid tests and 19 229 cases by RATs as well as 1 306 imported cases
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     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (December 29) announced the latest epidemic situation of COVID-19. As of 0.00am, December 29, the CHP was investigating 23 589 additional locally acquired cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, comprising 4 360 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (2 138 confirmed cases, 1 748 asymptomatic cases and 474 cases with pending status) and 19 229 cases that tested positive by rapid antigen tests (RATs) in the past 24 hours.

     Separately, 1 306 additional imported cases were reported, including 1 117 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (173 confirmed cases, 848 asymptomatic cases and 96 cases with pending status) and 189 cases that tested positive by RATs.

     Hong Kong has recorded a total of 1 162 658 and 1 405 938 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 number of new cases recorded daily in Hong Kong is still high. The CHP will continue to closely monitor the development of the COVID-19 mutant strains and the local epidemic situation, including monitoring the surveillance data of sewage samples collected by the Environmental Protection Department in all districts, and collecting samples on a random basis from positive cases by RAT and cases admitted to public hospital for genetic testing, with a view to keeping monitoring the local and imported cases for the emergence of variants of concern following the World Health Organization's advice. The accumulative figures of cases identified by the DH's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch (PHLSB) as well as the proportion of sub-lineage and BA.4/BA.5 (including suspected cases) of the Omicron mutant strain among the specimens received by the DH's PHLSB for verification testing of local cases are listed in the Annex.

     The CHP reminded persons who tested positive that they may seek medical advice from private doctors if their symptoms are mild. The CHP has stipulated in the isolation orders that persons infected with COVID-19 shall use the point-to-point transportation to leave the place of isolation for medical treatment, and they must wear well-fitting surgical masks, KN95, KF94 masks or respirators (such as N95 masks) throughout the process. The Government has been providing free COVID-19 oral drugs to private doctors for prescribing the drugs to suitable COVID-19 patients. The list of private hospitals providing medical services to persons who tested positive and the list of private doctors registered with the eHRSS (Electronic Health Record Sharing System) who have obtained the COVID-19 antivirals for managing COVID-19 cases are available at the following websites (www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/tp_ph_EN.pdf and www.coronavirus.gov.hk/pdf/tp_pd_antiviral.pdf).

     With the adjustments of testing arrangements for inbound persons and local anti-epidemic measures announced by the Government yesterday (December 28) coming into effect today, the CHP said that the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre at Hong Kong International Airport would cease operation from today, whereas admission to the quarantine centre under CHP's management (Metropark Kowloon Hotel) would also be stopped starting from today.

     In addition, as of 0.00am, December 29, a total of 11 470 death cases that had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the fifth wave (since December 31, 2021) were recorded, with 11 362 and 104 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 11 683 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, the total number of confirmed cases was 506 414, while the figures for asymptomatic cases, re-positive cases and pending/unknown cases recorded since January 1 were 398 522, 31 and 252 214 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.

     ‚ÄčThe CHP appeals to the community to keep on maintaining personal hygiene and comply with relevant mask requirements 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/Thursday, December 29, 2022
Issued at HKT 18:35
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Annex