Authorities purchase mainland drugs only when shortage happens as HK report 3,486 cases

Hong Kong reported 3,486 new Covid-19 cases on Sunday as the Hospital Authority said only when the healthcare system faced a relatively difficult situation will it purchase drugs through the SAR government from approved channels in the mainland.

Of the new infections, 3,313 were local cases inducing 1,313 confirmed via PCR tests and 2,000 verified positive RAT test results, according to the Centre for Health Protection's Chuang Shuk-kwan.

The remaining 173 were imported cases -- 68 identified at the airport, 69 in quarantine hotels, and 36 in communities after patients completed seven-day isolation.

Larry Lee Lap-yip, the authority's chief manager for integrated clinical services, added four related death, pushing the death tally of the fifth wave to 9,224.

The deceased involved four women aged 71 to 94. Two of them were residents of elderly care homes and three had jabbed twice.

Lee said that given the urgent situation of the lack of pain-relieving and antipyretic drugs containing paracetamol in Hong Kong, HA procures such drugs for use by patients through the SAR government from the approved channels of the mainland government.

In addition, in view of the recent demand for cefoxitin sodium for injection, HA imports the drug through registered medical practitioners for the treatment of specific patients following the Pharmacy and Poisons Regulations and applies for an import license from the Department of Health under the Import and Export Ordinance.

He stressed that the authority had complied with the relevant local statutory requirements in the import and use of the above mainland-produced drugs.

A 70-year-old male patient in the medical ward of North District Hospital was confirmed on July 15, followed by four more patients and three staff members who tested positive.

So far, ten patients and five medics at Hong Kong Buddhist Hospital have been infected after adding a 91-year-old female patient.

At Queen Elizabeth Hospital, two student nurses and one patient service assistant from the orthopedics ward caught Covid, amounting to nine infections in total.

Asked about the outbreak at hospitals, Lee described it as a reflection of the community situation. With the increase in confirmed cases in the community, hospitals are seeing more cases and have therefore stepped up staff testing arrangements.

Health authorities reported 43 cases of the BA.2.12.1 Omicron subvariant and 41 more cases of the BA.4 or BA.5 subvariants.

Public hospitals and treatment facilities are now housing 1,122 Covid patients. Among them, 20 are in critical condition, 28 are in serious condition, and five are in hospital intensive care units. In the past 24 hours, 108 patients have recovered from Covid, and 101 of them have been discharged.