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Experts warn 4th coronavirus wave has begun, as 23 new cases reported

12 November 2020

By The SUN 

Health officials say the 4th wave of infections could have been brought in by new arrivals from Nepal

Hong Kong health officials have warned that the dreaded fourth wave of infections has begun, as 23 new coronavirus cases were reported today, Nov. 12, the biggest number in nearly three months.

Responding to a question at today’s press briefing, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said the fourth wave forecast to occur at the onset of winter, appears to have already started.

“Is it the fourth wave? It is likely because the trajectory is on the rise,” Dr Chuang said, adding that people should step up personal hand hygiene and submit themselves to tests should they feel unwell or show symptoms of Covid-19.

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She noted that the weather has become cooler, allowing the coronavirus to stay alive longer.

She also acknowledged the findings of other health experts that the new wave of infections appears to have come from a virus strain similar to the one in Nepal.

The experts say the new virus strain could have been spread in the community by local people who stayed in quarantine hotels for staycations.

Dr Chuang says the rise in the number of local cases with unknown source is worrying

Of today’s cases, 16 are imported, including a 33-year-old Filipino man who arrived on Nov 10 via Cathay Pacific flight CX 903 from Manila.

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The cases brought in from abroad also included two seafarers from Indonesia, six returnees from Nepal and two from India. There were also three pilots – one each from Turkey, United States and Germany. The rest were returnees from the United Kingdom, Sweden and Turkey.

Of the seven locally acquired transmission, only one case, a 7-year-old boy, was linked to a previous infection.

All the remaining six could not be traced, and were spread out in various places in the city, sparking concern that a silent community transmission has already started.

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Of these, five are drivers, aged 47, 63, 68, 69 and 77. Four drove taxis, and the other, a rehabilitation bus. All except one had no symptoms.

The surge in their number raised more concern, as the third and so far, deadliest coronavirus wave in the city, also started with a number of taxi drivers getting infected.

The last local case, a 42-year-old man who works in Kowloon Bay International Exhibition Centre and lives in Tsuen Wan, is also causing worries, as he went to various places to eat and whose close contacts are connected to at least four schools.

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On Oct 26, he attended a wedding banquet in a restaurant at The One in Tsim Sha Tsui, where there were more than 200 guests who reportedly sat four to a table. Dr Chuang said all the guests at the party will be offered specimen bottles for Covid-19 tests.

Dr Sara Ho of the Hospital Authority said that of the 5,431 confirmed cases in the city, 104 remain in 20 public hospitals. Among them, six are in critical condition, six are serious, and the remaining 92 are stable.

Meanwhile, all kindergarten and daycare schools will be shut for two weeks from Saturday, amid an outbreak of respiratory track infections.

Health Secretary Dr Sophia Chan said earlier today that there were around 170 outbreaks involving about 1,900 people, more than half of them occurring in kindergartens and daycare centres.

She said the closure could be extended if the situation does not improve. 

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