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HK logs 3.3k COVID-19 cases

The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating 3,362 additional locally acquired COVID-19 cases, of which 493 were identified through nucleic acid tests and 2,869 via rapid antigen tests.   Separately, 118 imported cases were detected.   Furthermore, seven residential care homes for the elderly and one for disabled people logged nine cases involving their residents.   The Hospital Authority reported that 33 patients passed away in public hospitals. According to a preliminary analysis, the cause of death for 13 patients was related to COVID-19, while that of the remaining 20 patients was unrelated.   It also registered six more critical cases, bringing the number of patients in critical condition to 99.   As there were positive sewage test results with relatively high viral loads in several areas of Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Kowloon City districts, the respective district offices will distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to relevant residents as well as cleaning

Basic public services to resume

The Government today announced that its departments will resume some basic public services from January 28 in addition to the continued provision of emergency and essential public services.   It made the announcement after considering the needs for the functioning of society and the economy, adding that its ultimate goal is to resume full public services when conditions permit.   The special work arrangements for government employees has been implemented since December 2 last year. Aside from staff providing emergency and essential public services as well as those involved in anti-epidemic efforts, all government employees were arranged to work from home.   Despite the epidemic's impact, the Government said it has the responsibility to maintain the continued functioning of the community and the economy.   To meet the needs of the public and enterprises, bureaus and departments will resume some basic public services from January 28 upon implementation of targeted measures to reduce social contact and measures for infection control.   Government departments will separately announce the services that will be resumed, relevant arrangements and details.   In view of the need to reduce people flow and social contact, bureaus and departments will adopt flexible measures to reduce the number of staff working together in an office as far as possible.   The Government appealed for public understanding as the waiting time for public services may be lengthened or applications may need a longer processing time due to the possible adjustment in some offices' opening hours.   It also encouraged people to use alternative means, such as the post, drop-in boxes or online channels, to receive the services they need.   Meanwhile, employers are urged to make flexible work arrangements for employees in accordance with their operational needs, including allowing them to work from home when appropriate.
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