Hong Kong logs fewest new local COVID-19 cases since March 6

Jeffie Lam, Zoe Low and Rachel Yeo, South China Morning Post

Posted at Mar 22 2021 01:17 PM | Updated as of Mar 22 2021 05:53 PM

People who experience severe side effects such as facial paralysis after their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine should be allowed to switch their choice of jabs, a medical expert suggested on Sunday, as Hong Kong logged eight new cases.

The latest figures took the total number of coronavirus infections in the city to 11,379, with 203 related deaths. More than 10 people had tested preliminary-positive, mostly imported, while five were close contacts related to the Ursus Fitness cluster.

Four of Sunday’s new cases were imported from the United States, the Philippines, Bangladesh and Canada. The other four were local transmissions, the lowest since March 6, including a 26-year-old man arrested on Friday for illegal gathering whose infection was untraceable.

Sixteen others who were also arrested at the same time have been quarantined, while 15 police officers involved in the operation at the Sam Ka Tsuen Recreation Ground, in Yau Tong, on Friday tested negative for the coronavirus, but five officers considered to be close contacts had been quarantined.

Hong Kong's vaccination roll-out

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch said while the Ursus Fitness cluster, which had grown to 142 cases on Sunday, had mostly been brought under control, the city was still seeing infections with unknown sources and should remain vigilant.

“We have still recorded some unknown cases here and there, so I think there is still some silent transmission in the community,” she said.

Meanwhile, Professor Ivan Hung Fan-ngai, co-convenor of an official panel on vaccine reactions said people should take a half-day or one day off for rest after taking the second shot.

The first batch of Sinovac recipients, including Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and other officials, were expected to get their final jabs from Monday.

“Foreign data suggested that the side effects brought by the booster are stronger than the first dose. Recipients may witness more severe swelling, fever or fatigue,” Hung said on a television programme on Sunday.

Hung said those who experienced mild side effects – such as palpitation and dizziness – after getting their first jab of either the Sinovac or BioNTech vaccine, should seek medical advice before receiving the second dose.

But he warned that recipients who were hit by more serious symptoms, such as facial paralysis, were advised not to take the booster at the moment.

Hung said that, in the interest of better protection, they would generally not advise people to casually switch their choice of shot between doses.

However, the expert committee would look into setting up a mechanism that would allow those who underwent severe side effects after the first dose to take a different type of booster several months later following a clinical assessment, he added.

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