HK logs 9,373 new Covid cases as govt to raise response level to ‘Alert’ over monkeypox

Hong Kong confirmed 9,373 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, including 186 imported cases and nine deaths, along with spotting a man who returned to the city from overseas and was diagnosed with monkeypox.

The government is planning to purchase vaccines for if monkeypox is introduced to Hong Kong, said Edwin Tsui Lok-kin, Controller of Center for Health Protection of Department of Health, noting a 30-year-old man who arrived back in Hong Kong and has been confirmed as the city’s first monkeypox case, undergoing treatment in isolation at Queen Mary Hospital.

“People who have contacted the patient need to pay more attention to self-health status and report to the health department as soon as possible if any symptoms appear,” he said.

“However, the risk of being infected was low for people who are not close contacts,” Tsui added.

“Authorities may raise the response level of public health to the level of ‘Alert’, said Tsui.

The response levels - Alert, Serious, and Emergency - will be activated based on the risk assessment of the health impact of a disease on the community, according to the government.

A total of 1,516 cases were reported from 767 schools, said Chuang Shuk-kwan, Head of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Center for Health Protection of the Department of Health, involving 1,304 students and 212 faculty.

Among the nine deaths of seven men and two women aged from 27 to 99, only three were triple-vaccinated. Seven deaths are believed to have been related to Covid; two were residents in care homes, as Larry Lee Lap-yip, Chief Manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, said.

Public hospitals now accommodate 2,941 new Covid-19 patients, including 407 newly admitted, 54 in critical conditions, and 55 with severe symptoms.