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3 Indonesian DHs test positive for Covid-19, as surge in cases feared

18 January 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Mong Kok is among 3 adjacent districts where a new cluster of cases has emerged 

Hong Kong reported 55 new coronavirus cases today, Jan 17, with four imported cases including three newly arrived Indonesian female domestic helpers.

The tally is expected to jump significantly on Monday, as 80 preliminary cases were also recorded today.

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A Health Department information staff said the Indonesians aged 40, 50 and 36 arrived on a Cathay Pacific CX796 flight from Jakarta on Jan 15.

Also found infected was a 56-year-old female air crew who arrived on the same day on a UPS62 flight from Anchorage, Alaska. She, like the three Indonesians, was asymptomatic.

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The rebound in new cases sparked concern that the fourth wave of infections could spike again. There are now a total of 9,558 confirmed cases in the city. Of the 51 new local cases, 16 had untraceable sources.

Among the local cases were 15 linked to an outbreak in the YauTsimMong (Yau Ma Tei- Tsim Sha Tsui -Mong Kok) districts, raising the number of infections there to nearly 100.


Three of the new cases are cleaners hired by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department to maintain public toilets in the area.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection said in the daily press briefing that while it was possible the cleaners had infected each other, it was also possible that there was environmental contamination in the toilets.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Since last week, residents of 20 buildings in the area had been subjected to mandatory testing. Chuang said today that eight more buildings will be included in the list.

“We have cordoned off an area where buildings there are now subject to mandatory testing,” she said.


Preliminary cases were reportedly found among residents who tested in a mobile testing centre within the cordoned off area.  Chuang said more than 1,100 residents were sent to mandatory testing but 2,300 turned up voluntarily, according to figures as of Jan 16.

She said among the new cases from the YauTsimMong district were laid-off construction workers, retirees, students, security workers, a worker in an elderly care home, residents  and shopowners, apart from the toilet cleaners.

Many were ethnic Southeast Asian minorities, Nepalese, Chinese, as well as Indonesian  domestic helpers.

Dr Sara Ho, a chief manager of the Hospital Authority, said that as of 9am today, 558 confirmed patients were being treated in 24 public hospitals and the community facility at AsiaWorld Expo, of whom 42 are in critical condition, 28 are in serious condition and 482 are stable.

29 elderly people have reportedly died in Norway after receiving the BioNTech jab

The upsurge comes as a government health panel is expected to meet on Monday to discuss whether the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is safe for use in Hong Kong.

Executive councilor Dr Lam Ching-choi said government experts will carefully review the safety of the vaccine, following reports from Norway of frail, elderly people dying after receiving the jab, the only one administered in that country so far.

But Lam, who also chairs the Elderly Commission, said the city’s vaccination campaign in elderly homes should kick off in February as planned despite the reported deaths.


He said the risk of death posed to the elderly only justified continuing with the first stage of the community inoculation program.

“After balancing the risks of infections and vaccinations, our view is, unless there is more evidence [of vaccination risks], inoculations should still happen using whichever jabs that arrive first,” Lam said on a TVB program.

He said that probably those who died were very weak.

Hong Kong has ordered 7.5 million doses of the BioNTech vaccine, and another 7.5 million doses each from Sinovac and Astra-Seneca.


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