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Over 3.1k virus cases identified

The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating 3,172 additional locally acquired COVID-19 cases, of which 449 were identified through nucleic acid tests and 2,723 via rapid antigen tests.   Separately, 111 imported cases were detected.   Furthermore, seven residential care homes for the elderly and five for disabled people logged 13 cases involving their residents.   The Hospital Authority reported that 20 patients passed away in public hospitals. According to a preliminary analysis, the cause of death for nine patients was related to COVID-19, while that of the remaining 11 patients was unrelated.   It also registered eight more critical cases, bringing the number of patients in critical condition to 93.   Separately, to align with the Government’s cancellation of issuing isolation orders from tomorrow, the authority will, starting from the same day, announce at 8.30am and 1pm the information of general out-patient clinics (GOPC) quota reserved for COVID-19

Central authorities support leveraged

To press ahead with the implementation work to tackle the aggravating situation of the fifth wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam today assigned different directors of bureaus to take forward various areas of work with the Mainland.   Mrs Lam today held an internal high-level meeting to follow up on the consensus and achievements from the second Mainland-Hong Kong thematic meeting on the COVID-19 epidemic jointly hosted by Chief Secretary John Lee and Hong Kong & Macao Affairs Office of the State Council Deputy Director Huang Liuquan.   She appointed the convenors from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government for five task forces to co-ordinate with the representatives of the relevant ministries and commissions of the central authorities.   Secretary for Food & Health Prof Sophia Chan will be responsible for the task force of epidemiologists, co-ordinating the Department of Health, the Hospital Authority and local experts to liaise with Mainland experts to assist Hong Kong in conducting pathological investigations and analyses.   Secretary for Constitutional & Mainland Affairs Erick Tsang will be responsible for the task force of enhancing the capability of nucleic acid testing, including the co-ordination of community testing facilities and ancillary work in Hong Kong.   Secretary for Development Michael Wong will be responsible for the task force of co-ordinating and working with the corresponding Mainland authorities to construct community isolation and treatment facilities, including the identification of suitable locations in Hong Kong for providing such facilities.   Secretary for Commerce & Economic Development Edward Yau will be responsible for the task force of ensuring medical supplies, including the co-ordination of the delivery, in an orderly manner, of such anti-epidemic supplies from the Mainland as rapid antigen test kits in large quantities, beds, furniture for isolation and treatment facilities, masks and protective gear to Hong Kong, and the distribution of them to the relevant departments, organisations and residents.   Secretary for Transport & Housing Frank Chan will be responsible for the task force of ensuring other supplies from the Mainland, including the co-ordination of the detailed logistical arrangements for the supply of fresh food, vegetables and daily necessities to Hong Kong.   Chief Secretary John Lee will be responsible for co-ordinating the task forces in drawing up and taking forward concrete measures, reporting to the Chief Executive thereon and holding thematic meetings with the Mainland authorities as and when required.   Mrs Lam emphasised that the central authorities have all along been providing their strongest support for the Hong Kong SAR and she expressed her sincere gratitude to them.   She said since the onset of the fifth wave of the epidemic, the central authorities have conveyed to her on various occasions their care for the Hong Kong people and their full support for the city's anti-epidemic efforts.   The Chief Executive stressed that the Hong Kong SAR Government will spare no effort to implement the strategy of preventing the importation of cases and the spread of the virus in the community in pursuit of dynamic zero infection.   It will leverage the central authorities' guidance based on their experience in fighting the epidemic, as well as their manpower and resource support, to further boost Hong Kong's capability of early identification, early isolation and early treatment of the infected.   With the full support to Hong Kong by the central authorities together with the Governments of Guangdong Province and Shenzhen through the task forces, she believed the measures will curb the epidemic.   Mrs Lam said the Government will start working through the task force with the Mainland as soon as possible to enhance Hong Kong's capabilities of testing and isolation facilities by all means.   Meanwhile, it will implement measures to alleviate the anxieties of those members of the public waiting at home for isolation, including the distribution of information kits, setting up of a designated enquiry hotline and providing online diagnostic services.   The Food & Health Bureau and the Hospital Authority will map out and announce details as soon as possible.   Mrs Lam reaffirmed that the Hong Kong SAR Government will continue to increase vaccination venues, recruit more medical staff to administer vaccination for residents of elderly homes, lower the minimum age for receiving the Sinovac vaccine to three years old and implement the vaccine pass initiative with a view to achieving a vaccination rate of over 90% to strengthen Hong Kong's immune barrier against the epidemic.   She called on members of the public to stay confident and continue to comply with the anti-epidemic measures, go out less, maintain good personal hygiene and take preventive measures to guard against the virus.
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