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Tests widened in boarding house, container port as 74 new Covid-19 cases reported

17 August 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao

Residents of the Mong Kok building will be tested after another FDH who stayed there was found infected

Hong Kong has moved to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus in two hotspots, a boarding house in Mong Kok and the Kwai Chung container port, as it reported 74 new infections today, Aug 16.

The new cases pushed up the city’s overall tally to 4,480, as the daily infections stayed under 100 for the 14th straight day. Two patients were reported to have passed away, taking the death toll to 69.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said four of the new cases were imported, including a foreign domestic helper from the Philippines, and three returnees from India.

Of the 70 local cases, 34 are linked to an outbreak at the Kwai Chung container port, in particular, at Wang Kee & Company. More than 3,000 specimen bottles have been sent for distribution to staff at the container port, where a total of 55 cases have been detected so far, 41 of them at Wang Kee.

Also of particular concern is Cheung Hing Mansion in Mong Kok, where another Indonesian domestic worker who had stayed there tested positive today.

The 28-year-old domestic worker lived on the second floor of the building from mid until end of July, along with four other Indonesian helpers, before moving in with her new employer at Fung Tak Estate in Diamond Hill on Aug 1.
At least two other Indonesian workers who had stayed in another boarding house on the ninth floor of the building had tested positive earlier.

Another case that might be linked to the dormitory cluster has reportedly tested preliminary positive. “Let’s see if this will turn to a confirmed case,” Chuang said.

Although asymptomatic, the Indonesian helper was reportedly submitted for testing by the agent that placed her with the new employer. After the helper tested positive, Chuang said the employer and his family will be sent to quarantine.
Upon investigation, the authorities found out that the person in charge of the second floor unit was also managing the ninth floor unit where the previous infections had occurred.

“We are worried because the person in charge is not very cooperative,” said Chuang. She added that a family member of the person in charge had tested positive previously so the entire family had to be quarantined.

“Cheung Hing is still under investigation. It’s not too cooperative. We have to ask for further details. We’re quite worried about the building, so bottles will be distributed to all occupants of the whole building,” Chuang said.

When asked by a reporter on what to do with the person in charge, Chuang said he is now in a quarantine center for a test. She said the mode of operation of the boarding houses is that boarders are not registered so it will be futile to enforce the law to compel the person in charge to produce the records.

As for other boarding houses the person in charge is operating, she said the CHP is working with the police so it may be able to find out the details.

She said some helpers were still in the second-floor unit and might be quarantined and tested. Some who might have left would have to be traced, she said.
3,000 sample bottles will be distributed to staff at Kwai Chung container port, site of a major outbreak

As for Wang Kee, Chuang described it as a major outbreak area where more than 100 workers use the staff room every day to rest, eat their meals and take a shower.

Of the 34 new cases from the container port today, 33 worked at Wang Kee, while the other is still in intensive care so her company affiliation has yet to be determined. But her husband reportedly told investigators that she worked as a dispatcher at the container terminal

As a result of the outbreak, the CHP official said Wang Kee’s over 1,000 workers have to be put under quarantine. She urged that the company stop operations for a while so disinfection could be carried out.

Dr Linda Yu from the Hospital Authority said that as of 9am today, 80 confirmed patients in 20 hospitals were discharged from hospital in the last 24 hours, raising the total recoveries to 3,549.
She said 761 confirmed patients are in 20 public hospitals, at Lei Yue Mun  community isolation facility and at the AsiaWorld treatment facility. Of these, 27 are in critical condition, 42 are in serious condition and the remaining 692 patients in stable condition.

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