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Distancing rules extended as local cluster now has 9 positive cases

02 June 2020

By Daisy CL Mandap

The eight-to-a-group rule has been extended to Jun 18

The government has extended an eight-person limit on public gatherings until Jun 18 after four more residents of a Shatin public housing estate tested positive for Covid-19 today, Jun 2, bringing the total infections in the same building to six.

However, the resident who first tested positive has been linked to three other cases, raising the total number of infections in the cluster to nine.

Hong Kong’s total tally now stands at 1,093 with four deaths and 1,043 recoveries.

Health Secretary Sophia Chan dismissed a suggestion that the decision to extend the gathering limit was meant to deter anti-government protests, like the annual Jun 4 commemoration of the Tienanmen crackdown,


“We are considering different factors based on public health and not other considerations,” Chan said.

She pointed out that the new local outbreak happened two days ago and was not planned.

The social distancing protocols are set to expire on Thursday, Jun 4.

Set for a longer extension is the ban on foreigners arriving in Hong Kong, which will now be in place for two more months, or until Sept 18. Returning residents will still be allowed in, but subject to the 14-day mandatory quarantine.

The ban on tourist arrivals will remain in place until Sept 18

At today’s press briefing by health officials, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said there were six new cases today.

Four are all women, aged between 56 and 78, and live in Lek Yuen estate where a couple who were diagnosed on Sunday, also live.

The first case in the cluster is a 34-year-old woman who was rushed to Prince of Wales Hospital on Saturday in critical condition. Tests revealed she had the virus, along with her 56-year-old husband.

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Linked to her are her two female co-workers at Kerry Logistics in Kwai Chung, aged 36 and 40, who tested positive on Monday, raising the possibility that it was a workplace contamination.

Found infected on the same day was the 27-year-old ambulanceman who took her to hospital.

But the result of the tests on some 1,200 residents in Lek Yuen estate where she lives, now suggest the virus must have first spread in their building.

However, Chuang said "no architectural defect" was found in the pipes of their building, so it was not considered as the contamination route. Thus, she said there is no need to evacuate residents from the building. 

As in the case of the last local transmission detected two weeks ago, the source of the new outbreak remains unknown.

Chuang said the two other cases recorded today are both classified as imported.

One is a 15-year-old boy who returned to Hong Kong last month from Pakistan, and was found positive after being tested again just before he was set to leave a quarantine facility.

The other is a 42-year-old woman who stayed in the quarantine center to look after an elderly relative who had also just returned from Pakistan.

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