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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

Flight ban to be lifted in Apr

Chief Executive Carrie Lam today announced that from April 1, the Government will lift the flight ban on nine countries and cut the hotel quarantine period for arrivals.   Currently, under the place-specific flight suspension mechanism, passenger aircraft from Australia, Canada, France, India, Pakistan, the Philippines, the UK, the USA and Nepal are not allowed to land in Hong Kong. Explaining the policy change at a press conference this morning, Mrs Lam said the suspension is out of time and causing distress to Hong Kong people stranded overseas.   The more stringent quarantine requirements imposed on arrivals than local COVID-19 patients or close contacts have also affected the city’s business environment, she added.   The Chief Executive announced that starting from next month, only Hong Kong residents who are fully vaccinated can board a flight for Hong Kong. They must hold a negative result of a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based nucleic acid test taken within 48 hours before boarding and a confirmation of a room reservation at a designated quarantine hotel (DQH) for at least seven nights.   Upon arrival, they are required to receive a rapid PCR-based nucleic acid test. Upon testing negative, they will then be issued with a 14-day quarantine order and transported to the DQH.   During the quarantine period, daily rapid antigen tests (RATs) will be conducted and a PCR-based nucleic acid test will be done on days five and 12.   If the results on the day five PCR test and days six and seven RATs are all negative, they may opt for an early discharge from the DQH, then undergo a seven-day self-monitoring and receive the aforementioned PCR test on day 12 at a community testing centre.   Alternatively, if they choose to stay in the DQH throughout the 14-day quarantine period, a PCR test will be conducted in the DQH on day 12. After getting a negative result, they can leave the DQH on day 14.   If the travellers have tested positive in any of these virus tests after arriving in Hong Kong, they will be issued with an isolation order and transferred to a community isolation hotel. The isolation and discharge requirements will be the same as for local COVID-19 patients.
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