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HK says all residents to get free coronavirus vaccine as 103 new infections recorded

02 December 2020

By The SUN 

Britain has approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine (Reuters)

Hong Kong’s health chief says vaccine for Covid-19 will be provided free to all residents as soon as possible, with about three million people deemed to be high risk or vulnerable getting the first shot, literally.

Dr Sophia Chan said this at the Legislative Council today, Dec 2, as 103 new coronavirus cases were recorded in the city, including 39 more cases linked to a facility for the mentally disabled in Sheung Wan, and 14 from a construction site in Tseung Kwan O.

In Britain, meanwhile, Health Secretary Matt Hancock has revealed that the country’s regulators have approved the use of the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, which is said to offer 95% protection against Covid-19. The first 800,000 doses will be made available across the country from next week.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Dr Chan told legislators that the government has already set aside funds to procure two doses of the vaccine for all of Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents. However, the vaccination will be on a voluntary basis.

The first to get the vaccine are medical workers, elderly people, patients with chronic disease, and care homes staff.

Asked by pro-Beijing lawmakers if it was possible for the government to speed up the registration process for emergency use of mainland-approved vaccines, Chan said: “They will have to be safe, efficient and effective, but we do not rule out the possibility of emergency legislation in times of need,” she said.

Dr Chan says the vaccine to be given to residents must be safe & effective (RTHK)

She made the pledge as the government is reportedly set to jack up the fixed penalty for violators of social-distancing rules to $10,000, from the current $2,000. The new measure is now said to be with the Department of Justice for review.

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Among the latest confirmed cases were those adding to the fast-growing clusters emerging from a Tseung Kwan O construction site and a care home for intellectually disabled people in Shau Kei Wan.

At today’s press briefing on the coronavirus contagion, the Centre for Health Protection said that of today’s 103 cases, 6 were imported, 82 were linked to previous infections, and 15 could not be traced.

About 70 preliminary-positive cases were also reported.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

Of the six imported cases, three were returning residents from Nepal, and one each from the United Kingdom, Germany. The flight details of the sixth are still being checked as of this writing.

The Hospital Authority also disclosed that a 73-year-old woman who recently arrived from Nepal had died at about noon today at Queen Elizabeth Hospital. The city’s death toll from the coronavirus now stands at 110.

In reporting on the new infections, CHP’s Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan mentioned in particular an apparent outbreak at a construction site in Lohas Park, Tseung Kwan O where about 900 workers were stationed.

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Dr Chuang said that 14 more workers from the site were confirmed infected today, along with two relatives. They took the number of cases in the cluster to 19.

Also mentioned was the 39 new cases linked to the Fong Shu Chuen Day Activity Centre and Hostel, a facility for intellectually disabled people in Shau Kei Wan. There are now 44 cases in the cluster in total.

More cases have been found in the HK Sanatorium

Another outbreak seems to have occurred at the high-end private hospital, Hong Kong Sanatorium, & Hospital in Happy Valley, where a patient who underwent dialysis there on Nov 24 was found infected.

The patient reportedly stayed in a single-person cubicle, next to the one occupied by another patient who tested positive for Covid-19 on Dec 1 and died on the same day.

A 65-year-old man who entered Hong Kong from the mainland and went on to care for the 77-year-old patient who passed on at the hospital, has also come down with the disease.

Press for details

The sudden surge in the number of cases has left isolation beds and wards at public hospitals more than 70% full, which Dr Lau Ka-hin of the Hospital Authority said was “worrying” as most patients need at least two weeks to recover from the disease.

To relieve the pressure on hospital staff, about 500 more beds and 20 isolation wards will be made available from tomorrow at the treatment facility in AsiaWorld-Expo, where patients with less severe or no symptoms are taken.

Dr Lau said 860 infected patients are now being treated in public hospitals and the AWE, among whom 17 are in critical condition, 11 are seriously ill, and 132 are stable.

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