City sees 4,508 new Covid cases, authorities mull relaxing guidelines for oral drugs

Hong Kong reported 4,508 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday as health authorities said they are now mulling lowering the bar for administering oral drugs to patients.

Of the new cases, 4,288 were locally transmitted, and the other 220 were imported cases, including 112 detected at the airport from 50 countries, Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre of Health Protection said.

Eighty-seven imported cases were identified at quarantine hotels, and 21 were found in local communities after the patients completed the seven-day isolation, she continued.

On the other hand, Hospital Authority's chief manager for clinical effectiveness and technology management Gladys Kwan Wai-man said over 38,000 doses of oral Covid treatments have been administered as of Sunday (Jul 24), including about 10,000 doses to emergency rooms or general wards.

The oral treatments were also handed out to 400 patients by private doctors as of last Thursday (Jul 21), Kwan noted.

Kwan went on to say although symptoms for elderly patients could be mild, they could worsen quickly. She called on citizens to report their infections as soon as possible and said the authority is studying adjusting guidelines for issuing oral Covid drugs as well.

Three more elderly homes and one care center for the disabled reported new Covid infections.

Meanwhile, the Centre for Health Protection was informed of 482 positive cases from 371 schools involving 395 students and 87 teachers and staffers.

The center is now investigating a Covid cluster at Kwai Chung Hospital sparked by a worker's infection. Two patients and another worker were later also found to be infected with the coronavirus, while four patients who stayed in the same ward were listed as close contacts.

The authority reported 10 related deaths, including seven men and two women aged 74 to 97 who passed away on Tuesday. Another death involved a 76-year-old woman who passed away earlier. The death tally of the fifth wave now stands at 9,265.

Public hospitals and treatment facilities are now housing 1,390 Covid patients. Among them, 28 are in critical condition, 19 are in serious condition, and eight are staying in hospitals' intensive care units. In the past 24 hours, 185 patients have recovered from Covid, and 168 of them have been discharged.