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67 cases now linked to bars, but imported cases top the list

29 March 2020

By The SUN

The latest cases reported involve 3 staff members of All Night Long in Tsim Sha Tsui

A total of 67 cases of Covid-19 infections have now been linked to cases involving at least four bars across Hong Kong, including not just musicians, staff and their family members, but also patrons.

Hong Kong health officials also said today, Mar 29, that four bars apart from those already identified, have emerged as the cause of some new infections. They did not,  however, name the four new bars.

Still, most of the newly confirmed cases are of people who have just arrived from abroad, mostly college students returning from their schools in the United Kingdom.

Over the weekend, a total of 123 new confirmed cases were recorded, for a total tally of 642. Saturday’s 64 new cases nearly matched the record 65 cases reported on Friday.

Among the new cases involving the so-called Lan Kwai Fong cluster was a family of four in Mid-Levels, who were all recorded as having tested positive on Mar 28. They included a bar staff, his wife and two sons, aged 15 and 7.

Four other linked cases were reported on the same day, involving two bar employees and two customers.

On Mar 29, three more patients were linked to the cluster cases, all employees of All Night Long bar in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The other bars have been identified as Insomnia in Lan Kwai Fong, and Dusk till Dawn and Centre Stage in Wan Chai. All of the bars, along with nine bands made up mostly by Filipinos, are reportedly managed by a company called Step-by-Step.

Separately, a 40-year-old woman reported to be linked to the bar cluster, had tested preliminary positive on arrival in Hong Kong, after vacationing in Macau for five days. During her vacation, she reportedly ate everyday at a Jollibee outlet, but also went shopping for groceries.

Consul Paul Saret, head of the Consulate’s assistance to nationals section, says they have reached out to all Filipino patients who have been infected and are in hospitals.
“We have responded to their simple requests, like sending them battery packs for their cell phones so they can continue communicating with their family members,” he said. “Some only asked for fruits.”

He said Hong Kong health authorities have yet to update them on the total number of Filipino patients, likely because of the huge number of new cases being reported each day for the past several days.
The cases are called the Lan Kwai Fong cluster because the first reported infection was traced to Insomnia on this street 

As of the latest Consulate tally, 16 Filipinos are still in hospital, while four have been discharged after recovering. Most work as domestic helpers, but they also include six musicians.

The huge spike in new cases has prompted Hong Kong health authorities to warn that public hospitals are about the run out of isolation rooms.

Sundan ang Kuwentong Dram Love

Dr Sara Ho, the Hospital Authority’s chief manager of patient safety and risk management, said:  “We’re indeed very worried that the situation will worsen. No matter how hard we’re trying to have more isolation beds, we probably cannot meet the growing demand.”

As of Mar 29, there were 540 patients under isolation, while 118 have been discharged after treatment. On this day alone, 204 new admissions were reported.

Residents found ill on arrival, or shortly after arrival, in Hong Kong, make up the bulk of the newly confirmed cases.

On Mar 28, 47 had traveled during the incubation period, and 26 were overseas students in the U.K.

A big number of the students did not show symptoms, prompting health officials to start testing all new arrivals, including those who are asymptomatic, from Mar 29.

All new arrivals will be provided with specimen collection containers which they are encouraged to submit immediately to the testing center at Asia World-Expo. Those who prefer to go into home quarantine immediately are advised to get family members or friends submit their specimen immediately.

Among the returning students from the U.K. is a 14-year-old teenage male who is believed to have transmitted the virus to his parents and a brother. They all returned positive results in the first tests. Another 3 preliminary cases are airline crew members.
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