People watch and take photos of the sunset from Garden Hill look out in Sham Shui Po in Hong Kong on Aug 23, 2022.

HONG KONG – Hong Kong again saw its daily COVID-19 caseload surpass 9,000 on Wednesday as nine more patients passed away.

Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said at a news briefing that there were 9,495 new cases, including 228 imported infections.

The last time the number of new cases exceeded 9,000 was on Aug 28. The nine new reported deaths on Wednesday brought the city’s toll during the fifth wave to 9,477

The last time the number of new cases exceeded 9,000 was on Aug 28, when 9,708 infections were recorded. The nine new reported deaths on Wednesday brought the city’s toll during the fifth wave to 9,477.

“I think the general trend of COVID cases in the community is still increasing so we expect the number of cases to exceed 10,000 soon,” Chuang said.

She said cases linked to the Omicron subvariant BA.4 or BA.5 continued to increase and accounted for 59.7 percent of new infections as of Aug 29.

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Of the 228 imported infections, 110 were detected at the airport. Thirty-two came from the United Kingdom, 20 from the United States, 18 from Thailand, 16 from India, 14 from the Philippines, 13 from France, and 11 from Vietnam, Chuang said.

She said eight residential care homes for the elderly and people with disabilities in Sham Shui Po, Kowloon City, Kwai Chung, Kwun Tong, Tuen Mun, and Sha Tin had new cases.

Chuang added that 82 schools reported 97 students and 32 teaching staff members getting infected. A kindergarten in North Point had to suspend in-person classes due to cases.

With a new term starting on Thursday, Chuang urged teachers and students to take a rapid antigen test before going to school to prevent the spread of the virus.

Lau Ka-hin, chief manager (quality and standards) of the Hospital Authority, said in the same briefing that the nine patients who passed away included five men and four women aged 34 to 97 years old.

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Seven of them were not fully vaccinated, including two who did no get a single shot, Lau said.

The youngest was a 34-year-old male patient who had three vaccine shots but tested positive for the virus through an RAT test on Aug 27.

He went to the North Lantau Hospital on Aug 29 due to fever, diarrhea, low blood pressure, dizziness, and swelling of the legs. He was transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital. An x-ray procedure showed that his lungs were normal while an ultrasound check showed that his heart was also normal. 

However, his condition deteriorated and he passed away. Doctors suspected that he might have died due to a “hidden condition of excessive growth of white blood cells and vascular thrombosis” or blood clots.

Lau said 2,598 COVID patients were being treated in public hospitals as of Wednesday, including 355 new patients.

Fifty-three patients were in critical condition, including 15 receiving intensive care, and 41 in serious condition, Lau added.

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