HK fourth wave: 81 new coronavirus cases push city past 10,000 mark as official warns more infections expected

25-Jan-2021 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Hong Kong exceeded 10,000 coronavirus cases on the first anniversary of the pandemic on Saturday after health authorities revealed 81 new infections and warned more were expected to emerge out of the Kowloon neighbourhood placed under an unprecedented lockdown.

Officials said 78 of the latest cases were locally transmitted, of which 35 were untraceable. At least twenty-one infections were tied to the Yau Tsim Mong district, where several blocks in Jordan have been sealed off as residents undergo screening. More than 70 people across the city also tested preliminary-positive.

The latest caseload pushed the tally of infections to 10,009, with 168 related deaths. Hong Kong confirmed its first two cases on January 23 last year, when two tourists from Wuhan in mainland China were found to be carrying then-little understood virus.

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Authorities hope all 10,000 residents in the restricted zone can be screened by the end of the day. A leading health official expected a rising trend of cases in the next few days.

“We are expecting the daily number of [citywide] cases to get at least more and more in these coming few days because of the enhanced testing in the restricted area,” said Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection. “There is also quite significant transmission in the community.”

Authorities moved at 4am to cordon off the area, bordering Kansu Street to the north and Nanking Street in the south, with the eastern and western boundaries Woosung Street and Battery Street, respectively.

Among the preliminary positive cases was a clerk at the Tuen Mun Eye Centre, who sought treatment on Friday at Tuen Mun Hospital’s accident and emergency department after coming down with a fever. She had last reported to work on Friday morning and was rarely in contact with patients.

Earlier on Saturday, it was revealed a 40-year-old constable posted to the Hong Kong Police College in Wong Chuk Hang had tested preliminary-positive. The officer, who last reported for duty on Tuesday and had no contact with members of the public, underwent a Covid-19 test after a relative was suspected of carrying the virus. A force spokesman said the officer wore a mask during work, adding arrangements had been made for all officers and staff who might have been in contact with him to undergo testing.

Residents at three more buildings will be required to undergo compulsory screening after two or more confirmed cases were recorded. They were: Moonstar Court in Wan Chai; Yick Man Building in To Kwa Wan; and Shun Fung Building in Yau Ma Tei.

Mandatory screening was also ordered at three other buildings located within an area in the Sham Shui Po district already under a stricter threshold of just a single case triggers testing. They were: 96 Yen Chow Street; 25 Un Chau Street; and 171 Cheung Sha Wan Road.

Pro-establishment lawmaker Vincent Cheng Wing-shun told a radio programme that the government should step up virus testing in other areas of Yau Tsim Mong district falling outside the zones designated for mandatory testing.

“For example, Pitt Street, which is outside the mandatory-testing zone, has recorded over 20 new Covid-19 confirmed cases over the past few days,” Cheng said.

Meanwhile, surveyor and former president of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, Vincent Ho Kui-yip, suggested the administration more quickly tackle building design issues, such as problematic piping in old tenements, that help spread the disease.


Category: Hong Kong

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