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CHP investigates locally acquired SARS-CoV-2 virus cases with 2 386 cases tested positive by nucleic acid tests and 13 476 cases by RATs as well as 324 imported cases
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     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today (January 3) announced the latest epidemic situation of COVID-19. As of 0.00am, January 3, the CHP was investigating 15 862 additional locally acquired cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, comprising 2 386 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (1 084 confirmed cases, 586 asymptomatic cases and 716 cases with pending status) and 13 476 cases that tested positive by rapid antigen tests (RATs) in the past 24 hours.

     Separately, 324 additional imported cases were reported, including 41 cases that tested positive by nucleic acid tests (14 confirmed cases, 22 asymptomatic cases and five cases with pending status) and 283 cases that tested positive by RATs.

     Hong Kong has recorded a total of 1 181 568 and 1 503 842 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 positive cases involving mutant strains by genetic analysis. 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.

     In addition, as of 0.00am, January 3, a total of 11 805 death cases that had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus during the fifth wave (since December 31, 2021) were recorded, with 11 695 and 106 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 12 018 death cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

     In response to the Government's earlier announcement to adjust the local testing strategy and the cessation of distribution of relevant specimen collection packs, stool specimens will no longer be collected by designated specimen collection points of the DH with effect from tomorrow (January 4).

     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 (January 2), the total number of confirmed cases was 516 597, while the figures for asymptomatic cases, re-positive cases and pending/unknown cases recorded since January 1, 2022, were 407 615, 31 and 254 898 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/Tuesday, January 3, 2023
Issued at HKT 16:40
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Annex