HK sees 15 new cases as vaccine program sets to start next week

Local | 20 Feb 2021 12:14 pm

Hong Kong reports 15 cases today, as the first 1 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine arrived in the city yesterday. 

The fresh cases – 10 local and five imported – included four untraceable cases. 

Patients with unknown infection sources were a 70-year-old female retiree who lives in Jubilee Garden in Sha Tin, a 29-year-old male taxi driver who lost his sense of taste last week; 42-year-old male private doctor Lam Ka-yeung who last worked at his clinic in Kwai Chung on February 18 and a 51-year-old housewife who lives in Sau Wong House of Sau Mau Ping South Estate. 

The RTHK building in Kowloon Tong was among the buildings subjected to mandatory tests under the government’s latest regulation, after an assistant director was confirmed with the virus. 

The remaining of today’s cases were arrivals from Pakistan, India and the Phillippines. 

The Centre for Health Protection said the city has reported 244 new cases in the past 14 days, 203 of which were detected locally. 

The city’s total tally now stands at 10,849, which included one probable case and 197 related deaths.  

Meanwhile, the first batch of China’s Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine, carried by Cathay Pacific flight CX391 from Beijing, landed at Hong Kong International Airport in the late afternoon on Friday.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her senior officials would be the first to receive doses for the mainland-manufactured jabs on Monday, according to sources, while the administration prepared to roll out the city’s universal inoculation drive next week. 

After a four-hour meeting yesterday, Lau Yu-long, the chairman of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Disease, concluded that healthy people aged 60 or above are suitable to receive Sinovac’s vaccine. 

He said the target was to inoculate at least 70 percent of Hong Kong citizens, but refused to say whether Sinovac or Pfizer-BioNTech were better. 

The first batch of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines are expected to arrive later this month. 

However, the two vaccines have raised public concerns over the potential risks for elderly recipients, who are more vulnerable to the virus and possible adverse reactions to immunization. 

Government advisers on vaccines have suggested elderly people with severe susceptibility – those bounded to beds in care homes – or residents aged 85 or above, should receive the Pfizer-BioNTech jabs on doctors ‘advisory.

The government would administrate the vaccines across 29 community vaccinations in the city’s 18 districts, and in more than 1,500 private clinics, 18 general outpatient clinics under the Hospital Authority, as well as care facilities for the elderly and disabled. 

Five groups of people would be given priority, including health workers, those aged 60 and older, residents and staff of elderly and disabled care homes, people who provide essential public services, and cross-border transport workers such as truck drivers, air and sea crew. 

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