Local Covid cases continue to fall, but imports rise

The number of new Covid-19 cases continued to fall on Saturday, with the 4,475 reported infections down by almost a quarter on the previous day.

Among the latest cases, 2,286 were confirmed by PCR tests, while 2,189 had been reported by people who took rapid tests.

Eighteen of the new infections were imported, with 13 of them arriving in Hong Kong on Friday – the first day which Hong Kong residents could return from nine countries that had earlier been covered by flight bans.

Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection said Emirates have been suspended from operating a route to the city from Dubai via Bangkok, after four passengers on the same flight tested positive for Covid. Three cases on a flight triggers a one-week ban under government rules revised last week.

“The increase in the number of imported cases is expected, because previously we’ve banned some countries from flying to Hong Kong. All these imported cases will be isolated and treated,” she said.

Chuang also clarified that the two imported cases reported earlier in February, which were found to have a blend of the BA.1 and BA.2 strains, were not the same mix identified in the “XE” Omicron hybrid.

“There are different varieties of recombinant involving BA.1 and BA.2, where XE is just one of them,” she explained.

“We didn’t find any more community cases involving the recombinant, so the two cases found in February posed little threat.”

A further 116 people with Covid have died, including 99 who passed away at public hospitals in the past 24-hour reporting period.

In total, Hong Kong has reported 7,848 deaths from the fifth Omicron wave, with the fatality rate standing at 0.68 percent.
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