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Govt extends gathering restrictions until Jan 20

04 January 2021

By The SUN 

The health secretary says the restrictions will likely remain in place until Chinese New Year

Health Secretary Dr Sophia Chan announced today, Jan 4, that the social distancing measures due to expire on Thursday have been extended for another two weeks, or until Jan 20.

She also said that the chance of relaxing the measures before Chinese New Year, which this year falls on Feb 12 to 15, “is very low.”

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Chan said that while the number of daily infections is decreasing, the rate is “extremely slow”, and the risk of a rebound remains high.

The announcement came as Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection reported 53 new Covid-19 cases were recorded as of midnight last night, raising the city’s total tally past the 9,000 mark.

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Among the new infections, 43 were locally acquired, and six of these were of unknown sources.

The 10 imported cases were mostly new arrivals from Nepal. Five tested positive while in quarantine, while two were recent arrivals from Kathmandu.

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There were also two Filipinas, a 29-year-old who tested positive at the airport, and a 30-year-old who was found infected while in quarantine. The last imported case was a 40-year-old woman from France.

A total of 728 confirmed patients remain in 23 public hospitals and the community facility at AsiaWorld-Expo. Among them, 50 are in critical condition, 45 are in serious condition, and the rest are stable.

Five cases have been linked to the day ward of Princess Margaret Hospital

Chuang also reported an outbreak at the day care ward of Princess Margaret Hospital, after a 66-year-old female cancer patient tested positive for the virus after being admitted there on Dec 28.

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Two more patients and two medical staff at the hospital have since tested preliminary positive, so health authorities have ordered that tests be conducted on everyone who had visited the ward in the past week.

These include about 40 patients and 20 staff who had worked there.

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Microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung who visited the hospital this afternoon told reporters that the cause of the infection there was the virus that spread through the air after the index patient with bone marrow cancer took off her mask for a meal.

Some 80 people linked to the ward had been tested, and Yuen said more could come down with Covid-19.

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Also among those confirmed today were 11 workers at the construction site for the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel, raising the total number of infections in the fresh outbreak at the site to 12.

Chuang said she had ordered that all works at the site be suspended, while tests are conducted on everyone who had worked there.

Officials faced a barrage of questions over the decision to retain the in-person briefing, despite announcing yesterday that the daily session would be moved online, and reporters could only ask questions in writing.

Journalists opposed the move, accusing the government of avoiding difficult questions.

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Chan insisted the original plan was meant to avoid spreading the virus, but “technical difficulties” prevented them from shifting online.


 

 

 

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