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Wider Covid-19 outbreak feared as HK records 19 new local cases and 5 imported ones

08 July 2020

By The SUN

Health officials warn of gathering rules being tightened anew as a new wave of infections are recorded

Health officials have warned of a community outbreak across Hong Kong as they reported 19 new local Covid-19 cases in several areas, including Mong Kok, Tsuen Wan, Jordan, Tsz Wan Shan and Causeway Bay.

Five imported cases were also reported, which include two Filipino seafarers, two residents returning from India, and another from Kazakshtan. Altogether, they brought Hong Kong’s total tally to 1,323, with two other patients testing preliminary positive.

The local cases include people linked to two restaurants where previous infections were recorded: Bun Kee Congee & Noodle Foods in Ping Shek Estate and Sun Fat Restaurant in Jordan.

But the biggest cluster involves eight people connected to Kong Tai Care for the Aged Centre in Tsz Wan Shan – four are residents and the other four are staff. Yesterday, an elderly resident at the home was the first to test positive.

In five of the new local cases, the source is unknown.

The widespread outbreak has prompted Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection to warn that the virus is spreading across a wider area, and could lead to an exponential growth in the number of cases in the coming days.
Dr Chuang is worried about the spread of infection in several areas across Hong Kong 

 “We are worried that there is a wider community outbreak,” said Dr Chuang at today’s news conference to announce the new cases.

She said health officials are unsure about the source of some cases, and urged the public to seek medical attention quickly if they feel ill.
She also said it might be time to again tighten restrictions on public gatherings, but this decision will be made by top-level government officials.

As part of the new restrictions announced yesterday, all foreign domestic helpers are now required to test negative for Covid-19 at their home countries before being allowed to board a flight to Hong Kong. They will also be put in hotels on their arrival for the 14-day mandatory quarantine, with the costs to be borne by their employers.

Apart from the eight new cases at the Kong Tai elderly home, today’s list also includes a family member of an employee at Bun Kee restaurant who earlier tested positive, and a customer at Sun Fat.

The cases with unknown source involve mostly people who did not work. They include  a 64-year-old man who lives at Ping Shek Estate but did not eat at Bun Kee, a 92 year-old man who lives at Tsz Ching Estate in Tsz Wan Shan, a 42-year-old woman who lives at Bayview Garden in Tsuen Wan, a 69-year-old woman who lives at Hoi Fu Court in Mong Kok, and a 31-year-old man who lives at Leighton Hill in Causeway Bay.

Asked if there is a danger of more infections emerging from the Bun Kee cluster as it was a popular eatery for taxi drivers, officials said it may be time to opt for takeaway as more cases are arising from diners who go out to eat.

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