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Confirmatory test scrapped as HK records 1.6k confirmed and 5.4k preliminary cases

15 February 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap 

All hospital isolation wards and beds are full amid a surge in Covid-19 cases

Starting today, Hong Kong will end its two-year practice of conducting a second test to confirm a positive test result for Covid-19 in a bid to clear up the backlog of preliminary positive cases waiting to be confirmed by the government laboratory.

The move comes as the city reported 1,619 confirmed cases, but with around 5,400 preliminary positive cases waiting to be confirmed.

If no confirmatory second test is conducted on the preliminary cases, an unprecedented number of infections could be added to Hong Kong’s total coronavirus tally by tomorrow.


Speaking at today’s press briefing, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection said the government laboratory can only confirm 75% of the cases within 24 hours amid the surge in infections.

As of this afternoon, the laboratory run by the Department of Health still had about 4,000 tests to confirm. The rest of the 5,400 samples that tested positive today have yet to be submitted for confirmation.

Amid the backlog, Chuang said it was decided that “the HA test will not be confirmed anymore.” She added the HA’s testing standards are extremely high and reliable, with no false positive cases being reported.


That should speed up the processing of requests for hospitalization from the preliminary positive patients who have been told to stay at home for the meantime.

According to Chuang, all of the newly confirmed cases were locally acquired. Twelve carry the Delta mutant strain while 1,598 cases are likely to be Omicron. The test results on the nine remaining cases are still pending.

She also said that Covid-19 outbreaks have been reported in eight more homes for the elderly located in various districts including Sham Shui Po, Tseung Kwan O and Tsuen Wan.


Sara Ho, chief manager of the Hospital Authority, said around 100 of their staff, including doctors and nurses, have either tested preliminary positive or been confirmed to have the virus. Most of them picked up the infection in the community.

Ho also said 2,482 confirmed patients are receiving treatment in public hospitals while 1,700 others who have mild to no symptoms are under isolation at Penny’s Bay community isolation facility.

Of those in hospital, eight remain in critical condition, including a three-year-old girl who is confined in Children’s Hospital.


Ho said the utilization rate for hospital beds is beyond 90%, which she described as “the upper limit” of HA’s capacity.

Those isolating at home are told to monitor their health by taking daily temperature readings

To free up bed space for those in the priority list – the elderly, children and those seriously ill – staff have been moving patients around.

Some relief is in sight with seven public clinics being opened from tomorrow to admit confirmed patients with minor symptoms like a slight fever or a cough:

Press for details

Shau Kei Wan Jockey Club General Out-patient Clinic

Kennedy Town Jockey Club General Out-patient Clinic

Robert Black General Out-patient Clinic

Kowloon Bay Health Centre General Out-patient Clinic

South Kwai Chung Jockey Club General Out-patient Clinic

Yuen Chau Kok General Out-patient Clinic

Tin Shui Wai (Tin Yip Road) Community Health


To visit one of these clinics, prior appointment must be made by telephone. The clinics will open everyday, from 9:00am to 1pm and 2pm-5pm.

Ho said that if a patient is deemed well enough following consultation, he or she will be allowed to go home. If not, then the clinic will arrange for the patient to be hospitalized.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam said in an earlier briefing that the government is in talks with taxi drivers groups to ensure the patients are able to take a ride in going to the clinics.

Meanwhile those who have been told to remain at home to wait for hospital transfer can call a dedicated hotline- 1836115 – between 8am to 10pm, for consultations on medical-related concerns.

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