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‘Silent carriers’ continue to spook as HK records 21 new Covid-19 cases

27 August 2020

By The Sun

HK health experts warn the silent carriers are everywhere, and could only be detected through universal testing

Hong Kong health authorities have warned anew about silent transmissions in the community as they reported 21 new Covid-19 cases today, Aug. 27.

Of these, three were imported and 18 were locally acquired. The imported ones are a returnee from the United Kingdom and another from Pakistan, while the third is a cabin crew from Ethiopia.

While the number of the so-called silent carriers dwindled to just four today, Undersecretary for Food and Health Chui Tak-yi said they still make up a big number.
He noted that in the past few days, the percentage was from 30 to 40% of the total.
“We appeal to the public to keep up their guard to prevent a rebound of the cases,” said Chui.

But because the number of new infections has been dropping, he said the government decided to ease some of the gathering restrictions.

From tomorrow, dine-in will be allowed in restaurants between 5am until 9pm, although only two people could sit together at each table. The dining places, along with cinemas and venues for non-contact sports that will be allowed to reopen, should only be half-full.
Beauty parlors will also be allowed to reopen, but can only serve customers with appointments, and no more than two people should stay in each partitioned area. Parlor staff should wear masks and other protective gear.

As for the relaxation of the mask-wearing among people doing strenuous exercises, the health official said this could dealt with on a case-to-case basis. "They can explain to officers why they are not wearing masks," he said of those who might be stopped while exercising.

Chui said that the government will continue to monitor the situation, and could ease or restrict the preventive measures whenever necessary in the interest of the public.

The mask requirement will only be relaxed for those doing strenuous exercises 
Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said the new cases with unknown source of infection again cut across various sectors and areas.

They include a day-shift taxi driver, a police officer at West Kowloon Headquarters, a cashier at a Park N Shop outlet in Prince Edward, and a retiree.
It is because of these silent transmissions that the Universal Community Testing for the city’s residents, which kicks off Tuesday next week, is being held, said the health officials.

Chui said trained medical personnel will take samples from participants in testing centres to be set up across the city. The exact location of these testing centres will be known closer to time.

Chuang said that of the 14 linked cases today, all but one involved family clusters.
The only non-family related case is a social worker at a hostel for mentally disabled people in Lei Muk Shue Estate in Kwai Chung. One resident at the facility also tested preliminary positive. So far, 11 positive cases have been detected from the hostel.

The city’s overall tally now stands at 4,756. However, only 429 remain confined at 18 public hospitals and at the treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo. Of these, 26 are  in critical condition, 35 are in serious condition, and the remaining 368 are stable.
Between 9am yesterday and this afternoon, three elderly patients passed away, raising the death toll to 81.

One patient who was diagnosed preliminary positive at Tseung Kwan O Hospital, died before samples could be taken from him.

According to Dr Sara Ho, the 59-year-old male patient was taken to the hospital’s accident and emergency section yesterday afternoon in critical condition. He lost consciousness but was resuscitated, then intubated. He died at 3:45pm yesterday.

Samples taken from him initially tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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