Coronavirus: Hong Kong confirms 13 new cases; 300,000 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shots land in city

Hong Kong confirmed 13 new coronavirus cases on Tuesday, while the city’s BioNTech vaccination programme was boosted by the arrival of 300,000 more doses.

Three of the latest Covid-19 cases were locally transmitted, one of which was untraceable, and the other 10 were imported from India, Pakistan, Indonesia and Japan.

Eight of those imported cases involved a mutant strain of the coronavirus, taking the total number of variant-strain infections identified in Hong Kong to 210.

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Fewer than five preliminary-positive cases were also reported. The city’s official tally now stands at 11,607 cases, with 207 related deaths.

The sole untraceable case involved a 55-year-old housewife living in Block 2 of Lido Garden in Sham Tseng.

Separately, the government has launched its pilot Covid-19 vaccination programme for care homes, under which outreach teams and visiting medical officers will attend 10 facilities for the elderly and administer shots for suitable residents.

The scheme will later be extended to the rest of the city’s 1,100 or so institutions for the elderly, people with disabilities and nursing homes.

On Monday, health minister Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee assured that more BioNTech doses were on their way and supplies were stable after vaccinations using the German-made shots were halted over packaging defects on more than 50 vials.

Two vaccines have been approved for emergency use in Hong Kong: CoronaVac, produced by China’s Sinovac Biotech, and Comirnaty, which was jointly developed by US-based Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, and is supplied through the mainland firm Fosun Pharma.

Meanwhile, authorities have said current social-distancing rules, which include limiting public gatherings and restaurant tables to four people, will be extended for another two weeks to April 28 when they expire on Wednesday, given the ongoing possibility of a rebound in infections after the Easter holiday.

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