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Daily Covid tally drops to 21,650 but total death toll nears 5,000

17 March 2022

By Daisy CL Mandap

PCR positive results have fallen but targeted lockdowns continue (File)

The combined number of daily Covid-19 cases from both PCR and rapid tests fell to 21,650 Thursday, but health officials say people should “wait and see” if the decline would continue.

The lower figure was partly due to PCR positive cases dropping to 8,628, the first time it fell to below 10,000 since the surge started. Those submitted to the rapid antigen platform and confirmed totaled 13,022.


Hong Kong’s total tally from the Omicron-fueled fifth wave of the contagion now stands at 984,231.

While acknowledging the comparatively lower daily figure, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said it was difficult to judge the trend based on the latest figure alone.


“We still have to wait and see,” she said. “There are still silent transmissions so the number will not come down very quickly.”

Chuang also reported 289 more deaths, 202 of which happened on Wednesday, including two elderly women aged 92 and 90 who passed away within minutes of each other at North Lantau Hospital. They were taken taken there from the AsiaWorld-Expo isolation facility when their condition deteriorated.

She said the death toll in the fifth wave has now gone up to 4,933. Fifteen of the fatalities died outside of the hospital, including one who fell from a height and was tested positive for Covid-19 after being taken to the morgue.


They took the city’s death rate to an all-time high of 0.5%.

A majority, or 58% of the patients had lived in residential care, and 87% had chronic diseases.

More than 10,500 patients remain hospitalized

Dr Lau Ka-hin of the Hospital Authority said that as of the latest bulletin, 10,522 patients were being treated in public hospitals and the isolation facility at AsiaWorld-Expo while 112 have been discharged. 

Among them, 58 new cases were listed in critical condition today, while 115 were in serious condition. A total of 119 patients are in intensive care.

Press for details

Of the 202 who were reported to have died Wednesday, 120 were males and 82 were females aged 20-104 years old.

Most, or 177 of the patients, had no vaccination or only had one dose of a vaccine.

Lau said there were seven fatalities who were relatively young, but all except one had chronic illnesses, including the 20-year-old patient who had a congenital heart disease.


The only one said to have “no particular illness” was a 49-year-old woman who received two doses of a vaccine. She was taken to the hospital on Mar 14 complaining of breathing difficulty, and an x-ray showed she had opacity in both lungs. She died after two days later.

Lau said her case has been referred to the coroner for further investigation.

An additional 87 deaths that occurred earlier were also reported, including that of the 40-year-old patient who fell from a height. The age range of the patients was 40 to 104 years old.

The number of HA staff who have caught the coronavirus went up to 18,506 but more than 10,000 have already returned to work.

Lau also announced that from tomorrow, Covid-19 patients could book an appointment at any of the designated clinics by using the HA Go app.

He said the app will indicate the number of available slots, and users can use it to book and cancel an appointment, or check their booking status.

The only catch is that only those who have existing records in the public hospital system can use the app for now.

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