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Infected Indonesian DH stayed in another dorm, says health officials

06 August 2020

By The SUN

The infected helper also stayed at Sunlight employment agency's shelter in North Point
Concerns that Hong Kong could end up having the same problems with its migrant workers as Singapore were raised today, as health officials reported 95 confirmed and 60 preliminary positive cases of Covid-19, including an Indonesian domestic worker.

Among the four imported cases was a Filipina domestic worker who tested positive for the disease on the 12th day of her quarantine, which meant she had flown into Hong Kong one day before tighter screening for travelers from the Philippines came into force.

The three others were returnees from India.

The new cases come just one day after an Indonesian migrant worker who tested positive for the disease was revealed to have stayed at two boarding houses in the two weeks before her diagnosis, sparking fears of widespread contamination.

It now turns out that there was at least one other shelter where the infected Indonesian helper had stayed, according to Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection at the daily press briefing today, Aug 6.

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Dr Chuang identified the third dormitory as one run by the Sunlight Employment Agency on King’s Road in North Point, where the infected Indonesian had stayed, along with about 30 other domestic helpers, between Jul 21 and 22.

From there, the helper moved to another boarding house on Lockhart Road in Wanchai, run by KL Home Care Ltd. During her stay there between Jul 23 to 26, there were 28 other helpers.
Between Jul 29 to Jul 31, the Indonesian stayed in a unit run by the Perfect Maid Centre at 48 Yee Wo Street in Causeway Bay, along with four other helpers. They have all been quarantined, along with five staff who stayed on the same floor and shared a toilet with them.

The Indonesian helper developed symptoms on Aug 1 and was confirmed positive four days later.

Dr Chuang corrected her statement yesterday that all the 28 other helpers who were at the KL Home Care premises with the infected patient had moved to their respective employers.

KL Home Care's shelter in Wanchai, where the infected Indonesian had stayed with 28 other helpers (RTHK photo)
Chuang said only one had moved out, and she will be included among those isolated, along with her employer’s family.

Still unknown are the whereabouts of the helper between Jul 26 and 28. Chuang said the language barrier had made it difficult to get all the information from the patient.

As for the other Indonesian helper who tested preliminary positive, Chuang said the patient left her previous employer on Jul 30 and stayed with about four to six other migrant workers in a dormitory run by Anika Employment Service Centre at Kin On Commercial Building in Sheung Wan.

On Aug 1, she moved to her new employer, but three days later she developed a fever, and she was taken to Tseung Kwan O hospital, where she tested preliminary positive. She has since been moved to Holiday Inn Express in the district to await her test result .

Chuang sad the CHP will look for her previous employer and other close contacts.

Asked about the possibility of transmission in the temporary shelters, she said: “I am quite worried about the boarding houses as they are not spacious and they all share a kitchen and toilet.”

But she would not be drawn into comparing the situation with the massive outbreak in migrant workers’ dormitories in Singapore, which continues to this day. Of the 908 new cases reported in the island state today, for example, all but three involved migrant workers.
Chuang said that “hopefully, we can control the situation in Hong Kong.”

Neither was she swayed by a suggestion from a reporter that employers should be allowed to keep their FDHs at home even during their day-off, saying that if everyone followed the regulations on gathering, the surge in cases could be curbed.

She also did not comment on an expert’s suggestion of mass testing for all FDHs, saying she’d let government officials decide on this. But she agreed that taking environmental samples from the shelters where the infected maid had stayed was a good idea.

Of the 91 local cases today, Chaun said 52 were linked to previous infections. Most, or 46 of the linked cases, again came from family gatherings, or relatives and friends having meals together.

The other cases included two linked to King Fok elderly home in Sham Shui Po, and one to Cornwall care home in Tuen Mun.
Two more patients died within the past 24 hours, raising the death toll to 44.

The first was a patient who died after testing preliminary positive yesterday, and was subsequently classified as a confirmed case. The second was another elderly patient who passed away at Tuen Mun hospital at 1:26 this afternoon.

A total of 1,204 patients remain in 18 public hospitals and at the treatment facilities in Lei Yue Mun and AsiaWorld-Expo. Of these, 39 are in critical condition, 57 in serious condition, while 1,108 are stable.

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