HONG KONG, March 31 (Xinhua) - The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong has reached 714 as the Center for Health Protection (CHP) reported on Tuesday 32 additional cases.
A passenger wears protective gear, as a precautionary measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, after arriving at Hong Kong’s international airport on March 19, 2020. (Photo: AFP)
The 32 new cases involve 19 males and 13 females, aged between 11 and 86 years old, Head of the CHP's Communicable Disease Branch Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a daily press briefing on Tuesday afternoon.
The newly diagnosed patients include 24 with travel history during the incubation period, 12 of them students studying overseas.
Out of the eight patients who had no travel history, four are related to a clustered outbreak found in a karaoke venue.
A total of seven people attended a gathering at the karaoke venue in Tsim Sha Tsui on March 24. Five of them have been diagnosed with COVID-19, and the other two will be sent to quarantine center as close contacts, Chuang said.
According to Lau Ka-hin, a chief manager of Hong Kong's Hospital Authority (HA), as of Tuesday noon 127 patients of confirmed COVID-19 cases have been discharged from the hospital upon recovery, and 532 are being treated at 14 hospitals across Hong Kong, including eight in critical condition and three in serious condition.
Lau said the HA is under stress due to the rapid increase of confirmed cases and will try to speed up the hospital admission procedure and shorten the waiting time for the newly diagnosed patients.
Controller of the CHP Wong Ka-hing noted at the briefing that the COVID-19 virus testing coverage in Hong Kong is among the highest in Asia or even globally, which has helped to find the asymptomatic cases and advance the diagnosis.
With the Junior Police Call Permanent Activity Center administered by the Hong Kong police being converted into a quarantine center and handed over to the Department of Health of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government, Hong Kong currently has four quarantine centers with nearly 1,700 units in total, Wong said, adding that the HKSAR government will continue to increase the capacity of quarantine facilities.