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Covid-19 cases in HK hit daily high of 113

22 July 2020

By The SUN
Public hospitals are now 75% full because of the spike in the number of cases

Hong Kong recorded 113 new Covid-19 cases today, Jul 22, the biggest single-day tally since the outbreak began in January this year. The latest figure topped the previous record of 108 cases reported on Sunday.

The historic number was announced as Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan unveiled more stringent measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, and warned of further restrictions if the infection tally continues to rise.

Chan said the stricter measures would focus on social distancing, but did not rule out a lockdown, even if a government statement issued only yesterday said this was “fake news.”

“Whether there will be a lockdown depends on the entire situation. We are looking at some of the international practices. We also have to balance people’s basic daily needs in Hong Kong,” she said.
Dr Chan now says a lockdown cannot be discounted if the surge in cases continues
The new measures announced today include requiring travelers from the United States and Kazakhstan to test negative for the virus no longer than 72 hours prior to flying in.

They will also have to show proof that they they have confirmed bookings in a hotel in Hong Kong for their mandatory 14-day quarantine, before being allowed to board their flights.

The new travel restriction takes effect on Jul 29.

The same requirement was previously imposed on travelers flying in from seven countries deemed as high risk for the virus - the Philippines, Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Nepal and South Africa. Those coming from these places will have to comply with the pre-boarding requirements starting this Saturday, Jul 25.

Among the new cases today which took Hong Kong’s total tally to 2,132 were eight imported cases.

Four of these flew in from Manila, three domestic helpers and one seafarer. Two were cargo plane crew from India and Kazakhstan, and two were returnees from the U.S.

Of the 105 local cases, 42 had links to previous cases, including family members and friends of the infected patients. The sources of the remaining 63 were unknown.

The untraceable cases include a chef at Pottinger Hotel in Central, a kindergarten teacher in To Kwa Wan, two secondary teachers (from Po Leung Kuk Pershing Tsang School and St Clare’s Girls Schoo), a nurse at St Paul’s Hospital and a staff in an eye specialist centre, both in Causeway Bay.

There was also a cleaner at the Salvation Army elderly home, a lawyer who visited the reception counter at the Correctional Services Deparment, and a taxi driver.

Among the linked cases are two patients at Queen Elizabeth Hospital who tested positive after being isolated as close contacts of a previously confirmed patient; and an outpatient at the physiotherapy department of Northern Hospital, whose family member was also infected.

Two separate incidents at two hospitals also caused concern. In the first case, a patient who was in an isolation room at Princess Margaret became emotional, and a nurse who helped restrain him dislodged her N95 mask. In the other case, a patient vomited on the hand of a support staff at Tuen Mun Hospital. Both staff were isolated as close contacts.

There were also new cases in the restaurant clusters. Three more patients were linked to the Pier Market in Grand Tower in Mong Kok, another three went to a different branch of the restaurant on the same day.

There was a new case linked to Fulum Palace in Sha Tin, and another to Victoria Harbour Restaurant at MetroPark Hotel in Mong Kok.

Virus hotspot Tsz Wan Shan also had five new cases of people who work at a restaurant, a hair salon, as well as the wet market there.

The Broadway shop at Plaza Hollywood was the link to two more cases – one staff member, and another who recently bought a telephone at the store.,

Another employee at Novotel Citygate hotel in Tung Chung also tested positive.

Dr Linda Yu of the Hospital Authority said that there are 645 patients currently confined at 14 hospitals. Twenty-nine of them are in critical condition, 14 are in serious condition, and 62 are stable.

The usage rate for the negative pressure beds has reached 75.4%, and the HA is making final preparations for setting up new facilities in case a new surge in cases result in a shortage of isolation rooms.

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