Visitors walk through a Christmas display in Hong Kong on Christmas Eve, Dec 24, 2022. (PETER PARKS / AFP)
HONG KONG – Health authorities of Hong Kong on Saturday reported 21,362 new COVID-19 cases while 39 people succumbed to their infections.
Amid an increase in the number of new cases, the special administration region government has appealed to people infected with COVID-19 to consider using private medical services efficiently so as to help alleviate the pressure on the public healthcare system.
The new cases took the city tally to 2,463,557. Hong Kong has so far recorded total 11,412 death cases that tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
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Total 20,460 of Saturday’s new cases were locally acquired and the rest 902 imported, according to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health.
With more frequent social gatherings during the festival, the number of daily new cases has been on a rise recently and further burden on the public hospitals may be expected.
Of the locally-transmitted cases, 4,147 tested positive by nucleic acid while 16313 through rapid antigen tests (RATs), the CHP added.
Meanwhile, 505 of the imported cases involved samples taken at the Hong Kong International Airport, 298 involved samples taken during day 1 to day 3, and the remaining 99 during day 4 to day 7, it added.
Hong Kong has recorded a total of 1 138 394 and 1 325 163 cases that have tested positive by nucleic acid tests and RATs respectively for the SARS-CoV-2 virus so far.
'Consider pvt medical services’
Urging the public to consider using private medical services for COVID-19 treatment, the government said it has been maintaining liaison with the Hospital Authority and private hospitals on the arrangement for providing services to infected persons.
"With more frequent social gatherings during the festival, the number of daily new cases has been on a rise recently and further burden on the public hospitals may be expected,”the government said.
The government suggested infected persons, if necessary, to consult private hospitals and consider using their medical services, as an alternative to public hospital services, in order to receive appropriate treatment in good time.
Prohibition on group gathering
The Leisure and Cultural Services Department on Saturday reminded people to maintain an appropriate social distance with other people as far as possible at the department's venues Saturday night.
“In particular, they should strictly observe regulations on the prohibition of group gatherings, and should wear masks at all times in any public place,” an LCSD statement said, adding that offenders are liable to prosecution.
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It also urged people to keep places clean and put rubbish in rubbish bins. “Anyone not disposing of rubbish properly is liable to a fixed penalty of HK$1,500.”