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Royal Garden Hotel evacuated as 3 more staff test positive

09 October 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Health officials suspect the infection started in the hotel's male staff changing room

A five-star hotel in Tsimshatsui shut down today after three of its staff members were among eight new cases confirmed positive of coronavirus infection by health officials today, Oct 9. Another hotel staff tested positive earlier.

Seven of the new cases were locally acquired, including a 25-year-old unemployed man living in Prince Edward whose source of infection was unknown. The only imported  case was a 63-year-old female returnee from India.

About 100 guests at the Royal Garden Hotel were asked to move to other hotels while the Centre for Health Protection sent about the same number of the hotel’s male staff to quarantine.

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CHP’s Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan said at today’s press briefing that 200 more male staff at the hotel will be moved to a quarantine center later.

Royal Garden said on its website that the CHP suspects the male changing room was the source of the infection.

As all its uniformed male staff will be quarantined for 14 days, the hotel said it would suspend operations from Oct 9 to 22, and advised guests to check out by noon today. In the meantime, the hotel would undergo thorough cleaning and disinfection.

About 100 hotel guests were asked to check out by noon today (RTHK photo)

Chuang said CHP did not request for the hotel guests to be moved, but added those who want to be tested will be given specimen bottles.

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About 600 employees and some guests were tested for the virus after a waiter at a Vietnamese restaurant in the hotel tested positive earlier this week.

Chuang said most of the results came back negative except for three of the hotel’s staff: a 35-year-old who works at the Italian restaurant Sabatini, a 58-year-old who works in the coffee shop, and a 46-year-old air conditioning mechanic who works in-house.

As a precautionary measure, Chuang said she arranged for the quarantine of all 300 male employees who had access to the Level B3 male changing room.

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Undersecretary for Health Dr Chui Tak-yi said the authorities will look if the hotel rooms had been used as party rooms and other uses that might have violated regulations involving the serving of liquor, karaoke services and other activities similar to party rooms.

Chui, meanwhile, said over the past week, Hong Kong had recorded 64 cases, of which 29 were imported and 35 were local or linked to local cases

Over the past 10 days from Sept 28, cases with untraceable origin made up 19% of the cases and there were signs that there are silent transmissions, Chui said.

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He said these were probably a warning sign, as any case of silent transmission could give rise to a cluster of infections.

He advised the public to avoid social gatherings and crowded places, to always wear a mask and to go for testing at any government clinic if they develop a symptom.

He said starting today, the Hospital Authority’s general outpatient clinics have been giving out specimen bottles to people in high-risk groups and those who have symptoms.

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A mobile testing center has also been posted tonight near the bar areas in Lan Kwai Fong and Tsim Sha Tsui for those who want to be tested.

Testing centers will also open at the Harbour Road Sports Center from Saturday, and at Kwai Tsing Community Hall from Sunday.

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