Hong Kong reports first Omicron BA.5 case

Health authorities on Thursday reported an imported Covid case that carries a new Omicron variant that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had recently added to its list of monitoring.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said the Omicron BA.5 variant was found on a 24-year-old man who had arrived in Hong Kong from South Africa via Ethiopia and Thailand on April 6.

Chuang Shuk-kwan from the CHP said the man tested positive for Covid on April 9 at a designated quarantine hotel and had since been transferred to an isolation hotel.

She said the man had had a low-grade fever but has now recovered.

Chuang noted that the WHO is still assessing the risks of the new variant on public health, adding that the government will continue to monitor related cases.

The man was one of 23 imported infections reported for the day, involving patients flying in from Indonesia, Australia, the UK, Thailand, Singapore, the United States, Korea, Greece, Portugal and the Philippines.

They are among 1,043 new Covid infections recorded on Thursday – 579 of them were detected by PCR tests, while 464 people took self-tests.

Officials also reported 54 more deaths linked to Covid, including 33 people who died at public hospitals in the past 24 hours.

The youngest among them was a 57-year-old man who had esophageal cancer.

In all, 8,789 people infected with Covid had passed away in this wave of outbreak, and the latest fatality rate is 0.74.

Meanwhile, Chuang also defended the government’s decision to require school children to get daily rapid tests before going to school.

“It is essential to ensure the students can continue to go to school and to prevent outbreaks in the schools. That’s why we need rapid tests at least in the initial weeks for the students and teachers to try to minimise the risk of outbreaks in the schools,” she said.

General Covid-19 situation: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/
Covid-19 testing: https://www.communitytest.gov.hk/en/
Community testing notice: https://bit.ly/3ivX2Ce
Community Clinics for Covid-19 patients: https://bit.ly/3q3tz6G
RAT reporting platform: https://www.chp.gov.hk/ratp/
Vaccination programme: https://www.covidvaccine.gov.hk/sen/
Vaccination pass scheme: https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/vaccine-pass.html
Hotline for Covid-positive patients: 1836 115