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Restrictions may be tightened further as actual daily case toll hits 10k

21 February 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap


Hui says the trend shows the daily confirmed cases hit 10,000 starting Saturday

A top health official has said there could be a further tightening of restrictions as 6,067 confirmed cases were reported Sunday, with thousands more still waiting to be verified.

Speaking at the daily press conference on the Covid-19 situation, Dr Edwin Tsui, controller of the Centre for Health Protection said the current trend points to a daily infection rate of 10,000 so the situation is critical.

Thus, he said relaxing social distancing measures is definitely off the cards for now. Either the current regulations are maintained, or they are tightened further, like minimizing the dining period in restaurants.


He also pointed out to the scheduled implementation of the vaccine bubble on Thursday, Feb 24, as a further tightening of measures. He said that for places where people are allowed to take off their masks as in restaurants, vaccination is a must.

Dr Tsui warned that for people entering malls after that day, they should make sure they have been vaccinated or they might be breaking the law, and could be penalized.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of CHP’s infectious disease branch said that of today’s confirmed cases, 12 were imported and the rest were all locally acquired.


Thirty-two carried the mutant strains linked to the Delta variant, while 3,188 were likely Omicron. Test results for the other cases were still being awaited or the sample collected was not sufficient for testing.

Since Feb 15 she said the infection rate has gone up at an alarming rate. Between Feb 15 to Feb 17 the daily tally was just around 4,000; then it climbed up to 7,000 the next day, before hitting 10,000 on Feb 19.

She said CHP would no longer provide the data for those tested preliminary positive as they no longer reflect the true numbers because of the backlog in confirming results.


Asked if this indicated the CHP was trying to hide the true picture of the infection spread, Dr Chuang said, “We are not withholding information but giving more accurate figures.”

She said 10,416 patients are currently staying at home, waiting to be put in a hospital or isolation facility.

Meanwhile, Dr Sara Ho from the Hospital Authority said 14 more people died in the past 24 hours, all of them elderly. They were seven males and seven females, aged between 70 and 98.

Ten other patients aged 45 to 93 are critically ill, while “scores” are in serious condition.

While 227 patients were discharged in the past day, hospital beds remained full because of high demand.


A total of 3,701 patients were being treated in public hospitals and three infection control centers, while nearly an equal number were in two isolation facilities. Penny’s Bay Isolation Centre has 3,200 patients under its care while Tsuen Wan Isolation Facility has more than 200.

Dr Ho said hospitals are trying their best to look after patients queuing up to be admitted, and are looking for more places where they can be moved so they can rest comfortably.

She appealed to the public to be more understanding of hospital staff, many of whom do not even have time for meal breaks because of the heavy workload.

 “I understand there may be frustration but please don’t take it out on our staff,” she said.

Dr Ho repeated an appeal for private doctors to step up to help cope with the crisis, and said talks are ongoing with private hospitals

Dr Tsui said the government is increasing isolation centers. A new facility being built at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal will have 10,000 beds while a number of hotels will turn into isolation hotels.

However, the isolation units will be reserved for those with urgent needs. Those with minor or no symptoms will have to remain at home and wait for the CHP to find an isolation space for them, or spend the full mandatory 14-day quarantine at home.

If one tests positive, everybody living with him or her must also self-quarantine to stop the virus from spreading further.

Including today’s confirmed cases, Hong Kong’s total Covid-19 tally has now gone up to 52,830 with 300 deaths.

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