Drop in Covid-19 cases not an excuse to do what you want, infectious disease expert tells Hongkongers, as city records nine new coronavirus infections

17-Sep-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong recorded nine new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, as an infectious disease expert said residents should stay at home as much as possible despite the easing of social-distancing measures.

All of the new infections came from traceable sources, and included five locally transmitted cases, a day after the city recorded zero local cases for the first time since early July.

There were also four imported cases involving arrivals from France, the United States, India, and the Philippines.

Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.

The latest figure took the total number of confirmed infections in the city to 4,984, with 102 related deaths, and with no local cases from unknown sources, the Centre for Health Protection scrapped its regular press conference for the second day running. Among the five local cases was a 45-year-old man linked to a cluster of 13 other infections at Transport City Building in Tai Wai. The other four were also linked to previously known cases, and were sent to hospital from quarantine centres.

Dr Leung Chi-chiu issued his warning as a team of medical staff from mainland China, who helped run the mass testing programme, left the city after being hailed by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor for their efforts.

Leung said while there had been a drop in cases and social-distancing rules were to be further relaxed at the end of the week, it did not mean people should go outside as much as they wanted.

“People should exercise self-control even if the measures are relaxed,” he cautioned.

On Tuesday, the government said bars, karaoke lounges, swimming pools and other venues could reopen, but with some restrictions on capacity and operating hours.

However, Leung said the goal should be to keep new local infections at zero for the long-term, so “residents do not need to constantly be worried”.

He said if the city could not keep community transmissions at bay, it also risked exporting new cases to other surrounding cities or countries.

“We cannot guarantee other places have as strict quarantine and control measures in place,” he said.

Earlier, at a farewell ceremony for the mainland testing team, Lam thanked them for their hard work and care for Hong Kong.

“Even though some people in Hong Kong with ulterior motives opposed the community testing scheme, and questioned the aid provided by the central government, I hope you can ignore these ill-meaning words,” she said.

Health minister Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee also gave Yu Dewen, head of the medical team, a handwritten thank you card.

The government has credited the testing scheme with cutting hidden chains of transmission by identifying 42 new infections. But the administration declined to reveal the total cost, only saying the city had contributed an estimated HK$530 million (US$68.4 million).

Also on Wednesday, a primary school in Tuen Mun suspended the resumption of face-to-face classes for Primary Six pupils, after a 10-year-old pupil was confirmed to be infected with Covid-19 on Tuesday. Her case was among the infections announced on Wednesday.

A notice issued by Shum Yiu-kwong, head of F.D.B.W.A. Chow Chin Yau School, said the pupil had last visited the school on Friday, and was believed to have been infected the following day. As a result, no staff or pupils were considered to be close contacts.

All staff would be tested this week, and the school planned to resume face-to-face classes for Primary One, Five and Six pupils next Wednesday as scheduled.



Category: Hong Kong

Print This Post