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CHP urges tests for orchestra audience after HK Phil member found infected

14 October 2020

By The SUN 

The entire HK Phil will be quarantined after its clarinet player initially tested positive for Covid-19

Health officials have called on those who attended Hong Kong Philharmonic’s two performances last Friday and Saturday to get themselves tested after the main clarinet player in the orchestra tested preliminary positive for Covid-19 yesterday.

The 35-year-old clarinet player who was found infected, identified in various reports as Jose Antonio Iosco, had taken part in HK Phil’s performances at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre on the evening of Oct 9 and 10.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam, as well as Home Affairs Secretary Caspar Tsui, were reportedly in the audience on the first night of the concert.

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A report in the South China Morning Post quoted Lam’s office as saying she was not considered as a close contact of the musician as she had worn a mask throughout the performance, did not shake hands with any members, and left during the intermission. She reportedly sat in the fifth row.

According to a press statement issued today, Oct 14, by the Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health, the patient developed a fever on Oct 11 and sought treatment at North Lantau Hospital and Union Hospital the next day.

After testing, the musician was found preliminary positive for the coronavirus disease on Oct 12. A follow-up test should have been done yesterday, Oct 13, but this did not happen because of the hoisting of typhoon signal no 8 in Hong Kong.

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A spokesman for the CHP said on inquiry that since no tests were done yesterday, they could not give any update on any new cases of Covid-19 in the city. He also said they did not get any other report of a preliminary positive case apart from the HK Phil member.

The CHP said in its statement that it is still investigating the case. But it said that since the patient did not wear a mask during the show, the 90-odd musicians who performed with him on stage were identified as close contacts and will be put under quarantine.

“Initial investigations by the CHP revealed that there were about 50 backstage crew who took part in the same performances. They did not have contact with the patient and had worn masks. The CHP will arrange virus testing for them,” said the statement.

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The CHP added that members of the audience were also not considered as close contacts since they all wore masks and the Cultural Centre had put in place social distancing measures.

CE Lam is not considered as close contact but is urged to go for a test

“Nevertheless, for the sake of prudence, the CHP advised audience members who had attended the two concerts to pay attention to their health conditions and seek medical attention immediately if feeling unwell,” said the statement.

Those who remain asymptomatic are advised to get themselves tested at any of the four temporary testing centres set up by the government in Wan Chai, Kwai Tsing, Kowloon City and Yau Tsim Mong Districts.

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Alternatively, they can obtain a deep throat saliva specimen collection pack at the general out-patient clinics of the Hospital Authority.

The patient’s family members who live with him in Tower 2, Phase 1, Coastal Skyline, Tung Chung, reportedly remained asymptomatic but will be sent to a quarantine centre.

Specimen bottles will also be distributed to the other residents of his building, and to the staff of the Cultural Centre and the HK Phil.

Meanwhile, the Cultural Centre will undergo thorough cleansing and sterilization, while the Concert Hall will be closed for 14 days.

Specimen sample bottles will also be distributed among the staff of the Cultural Centre.
 
With no new cases being reported, the total number of confirmed Covid-19 patients in Hong Kong remain at 5,201, with one probable case.

The CHP says it continues to investigate all confirmed cases. For case details and contact tracing information, please see the list of buildings with confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 14 days and the latest local situation of Covid-19 at this website: (www.coronavirus.gov.hk).

 Anyone who believe they had visited the same place at the same time as a confirmed patient and feel unwell subsequently, they should seek medical attention. If they are asymptomatic but are concerned that they have been infected, they can also visit the Hospital Authority's designated general out-patient clinics (www.ha.org.hk/haho/ho/covid-19/GOPC_extend_EN.pdf) to obtain specimen collection packs.

The CHP also reminded all residents, especially the elderly, to avoid going out, having social gatherings and dining out. If they need to go out, they should put on a surgical mask and maintain stringent hand hygiene.

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