Infections continue to rise as Covid cases reach 4,375

Hong Kong reported 4,375 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday as health authorities said they have not yet seen any sign of a downward trend.

Among the new cases, 4,076 were locally transmitted, including 1,496 confirmed via PCR tests and 2,580 verified positive RAT results, according to Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection.

The other 299 infections were imported cases, 140 detected at the airport, 113 at quarantine hotels, and 46 in local communities after the patients completed seven-day isolation.

Chuang said as of Tuesday, the city has recorded 1,149 suspected cases of BA.2.12.1 and 403 suspected cases of BA.4 or BA.5.

Chuang said the number of confirmed cases almost doubled in two weeks, and no downward trend has been seen so far. She said it was difficult to predict the peak of the pandemic but only hoped that it would not rise too quickly.

She said a high vaccination rate and infections will build mixed immunity, citing the World Health Organization. However, people's immunity will decrease over time, and when that happens, there will be a certain degree of transmission.

The center was also informed of 414 positive cases from 355 schools involving 313 students and 84 teachers and staffers.

Hong Kong Taoist Association Wun Tsuen Ng Lai Wo Memorial School and Shun Tak Federal Association Leung Lee Sau Yu (Shatin) Kindergarten each had a class suspended for a week after the students and teachers caught Covid.

In addition, Pok Oi Hospital Jockey Club Care And Attention Home reported two more infections.

Chuang said the staff of elderly care homes may bring the virus from the community to the elderly, and the rapid test has limitations, so the use of nucleic acid testing will be more secure.

Elderly care home staff should also test more frequently due to the elderly's susceptibility to the virus.

However, students and staff at schools are all from the community, so doing the rapid test is an effective way to prevent a large outbreak.

She also said that the authorities have stepped up mandatory testing, mainly focused on residential buildings, as they were found to have worse situations.

The Hospital Authority reported three related deaths involving one man and two women aged 93 to 99. The death tally of the fifth wave now stands at 9,235.

Public hospitals and treatment facilities are now housing 1,233 Covid patients. Among them, 18 are in critical condition, 25 are in serious condition, and five are in hospital intensive care units.