Hong Kong reports 128 new COVID-19 cases, tightens testing, quarantine for sea, air crews


HONG KONG, July 26 (Xinhua) — Hong Kong’s Center for Health Protection (CHP) reported 128 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, the fifth straight day when the daily additional cases surpassed 100.

The newly-reported cases, including 103 local infections and 25 imported cases, brought the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong to 2,633.

Out of the local cases, 68 are related to previously confirmed cases, mostly clusters concerning gatherings of families or friends, while the sources of infection of the other 35 cases remain unknown, Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, said at a media briefing on Sunday afternoon.

The 25 imported cases mostly involve sea crew and foreign domestic helpers, according to Chuang.

Chui Tak-yi, under secretary for food and health of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, urged members of the public to suspend social activities such as family and friends’ gatherings, and called on the elderly and persons with underlying illnesses to avoid going out.

According to Linda Yu, a chief manager of Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority, as of Sunday afternoon, the death toll from COVID-19 in Hong Kong has increased to 18.

In Hong Kong, Yu said, the occupancy rates of negative pressure rooms and isolation beds in public hospitals have risen to 82.4 percent and 77.1 percent, respectively.

In response to Hong Kong’s current severe epidemic situation, the HKSAR government announced on Sunday to tighten testing and quarantine arrangement for exempted persons such as sea and air crew members.

Crew change arrangements for passenger vessels and goods vessels without cargo operation in Hong Kong would be suspended from Wednesday until the local epidemic situation is contained.

All crew members coming to Hong Kong for cargo operations should remain on board during their vessel’s stay in Hong Kong waters and should not go ashore.

Outgoing crew members who have completed their service on board will be required to remain on the vessels during their stay in Hong Kong until transport is arranged for them to travel directly to the airport to avoid contact with the local community.

Incoming crew members arriving at the airport on flights should possess a negative nucleic acid test result for COVID-19, with the specimen collected within 48 hours before they depart their places of origin for entering Hong Kong. Those who do not possess the test results will be denied entry. Enditem


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