HONG KONG, March 25 (Xinhua) -- The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong has risen to 410 after 24 new cases were reported during the past 24 hours, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) reported Wednesday afternoon.
The 24 new cases involve 13 males and 11 females aged between 11 and 57. Among them 19 people have been to areas such as Europe and North America, while five have no travel history during the incubation period, Head of the CHP's Communicable Disease Branch Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a daily press briefing.
Out of the 19 patients with travel history, three are related to previously diagnosed cases, including two who are asymptomatic.
The 19 patients also include six students who had been studying abroad and a flight attendant.
Among the five patients without travel history, one is related to a clustered outbreak in an industrial building in Cheung Sha Wan area, where a total of four people have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Three are related to a cluster found in the nightclub hub of Lan Kwai Fong in Central area, including a bartender, a band performer and a flight attendant who has been to the bars concerned.
The source of disease of the remaining one patient, a 36-year-old male, is not clear yet, and the CHP is investigating into the case, Chuang said.
Apart from the diagnosed cases, a 22-year-old female police officer was preliminarily tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the Hong Kong police confirmed on Wednesday.
The officer, who is posted to a patrol sub-unit and has no travel history in the past 14 days, felt unwell while on duty on Tuesday and went to a hospital for treatment.
The officer was not involved in any frontline duties that required interaction with members of the public, the police said, adding that the police have started arrangement to sterilize all facilities in the police station concerned and have reminded officers to reduce social contact to minimize risks of infection.
The recent rapid increase in COVID-19 cases has put Hong Kong's public hospitals under growing pressure.
According to Hong Kong's Hospital Authority (HA), so far 106 patients who had COVID-19 confirmed or probable infections have been discharged from the hospital upon recovery, while there are 469 patients under isolation currently.
The HA's Chief Manager for Patient Safety and Risk Management Sara Ho said at Wednesday's briefing that the HA will set up COVID-19 triage and test centers in some of its accident and emergency (A&E) departments in hospitals from this week to alleviate pressure on public hospitals' in-patient isolation facilities.
She explained that by establishing temporary testing centers at AsiaWorld-Expo and North Lantau Hospital near the Hong Kong International Airport for people arriving in Hong Kong, the authority has been able to reserve hundreds of isolation beds for patients who test positive for the virus.
"We started the test centers on March 20. Up till today at 6 p.m., we have been operating for five and a half days. We have tested around 370 cases and 13 of them tested positive. So in other words, we have saved around 350 beds - isolation bed facilities," she said.