Hong Kong announced nine new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday – five of them imported and the remainder linked to known cases. It marks the first time since last November that the city has seen no new daily cases of unknown origin.

Covid-19 under an electron microscope. File photo: NIAID-RML.

The imported cases were connected to arrivals from the Philippines, India and Pakistan, whilst the local cases were epidemiologically linked with known outbreaks.

The Department of Health’s Centre for Health Protection confirmed that the total number of cases in the city is now 11,429 with 212 deaths. Over the past 14 days, 40 cases were of unknown origin.

‘Chaotic moments’

Meanwhile, the Civil Service Secretary Patrick Nip admitted on Thursday that poor communication during the suspension of the BioNTech vaccine centres the previous day had led to some “chaotic moments.”

Patrick Nip Tak-kuen. File Photo: GovHK.

Jabs from the German manufacturer were halted indefinitely after a batch was found to have defective lids. Vaccinations with BioNTech will remain suspended until an investigation is completed, though the government has said that there are no safety risks.

Speaking to RTHK, Nip said the abrupt suspension was because the authorities were spending some time to understand the situation. “I believe it might have been caused by the messages we delivered to the centres… at that time, we didn’t have a full picture, so that might have given rise to some problems,” Nip said. “There were some chaotic moments when we were handling the matter within a short period of time.”

Tom is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Hong Kong Free Press. He has a BA in Communications & New Media from Leeds University and an MA in Journalism from the University of Hong Kong. He has contributed to the BBC, Euronews, Quartz, Global Post and others.