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HK records 2 new local transmissions, first in 2 weeks

01 June 2020

By The SUN

The first local transmission in two weeks is suspected to have spread in the workplace

A 34-year-old local woman and her 56-year-old husband have both tested positive for Covid-19, the first case of local transmission in two weeks. They raised Hong Kong's total tally to 1,084.

Two fellow workers of the woman at an imported food warehouse also tested weak positive for the disease, but have not been logged as confirmed cases.  Both reported having symptoms late last month, leading officials to suspect a workplace transmission.
According to health officials, three medical staff who had attended to the woman when she was first sent to hospital were not wearing a full set of protective clothing.

Dr Sara Ho Yuen-ha, the Hospital Authority’s chief manager for patient safety and risk management, revealed at the daily briefing that three of the emergency medical staff who attended to the woman had not been wearing the full set of protective clothing.

“The patient was already in critical condition when she first arrived at the accident and emergency department and was losing consciousness, so some medical staff volunteered to help,” said Dr Sara Ho Yuen-ha, the Hospital Authority’s chief manager for patient safety and risk management.

She said it was later discovered that a doctor, a nurse and a medical assistant had not worn protective gowns. They have been quarantined for 14 days as close contacts of the confirmed patient.

Also at the press briefing, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said the two other women who tested weak positive had been sick much earlier, between April 25 and 27, suggesting transmission at the workplace.
Chuang says private doctors should send patients with symptoms for testing

Like the first case, neither had any travel history.

“As the two women who tested weak positive had symptoms earlier than the confirmed patient, there is a chance of a transmission chain within the warehouse,” Chuang said. “But we are still investigating the exact path the virus was passed.”

The three women worked the night shift at a Kerry Logistics warehouse in Kwai Chung labelling pre-packaged fruit and vegetables from the United Kingdom. Their 25 other colleagues there will be sent to quarantine centres.

Up to 100 other people who worked in the same building will also be asked to give samples for testing.

The last local infection before this was reported on May 14, a 62-year-old man who lives in Tsuen Wan. He is suspected to have infected his 66-year-old wife and five-year-old granddaughter who tested positive earlier.

The couple in the latest cases lives in Lek Yuen Estate in Sha Tin with the husband’s sister, who has shown no symptoms but was tested and has been sent to a quarantine centre.

The wife had visited a private doctor in the estate three times and was treated for an upper respiratory tract infection as she did not have any travel history, Chuang said.

She began feeling chest pains and was sent to Prince of Wales hospital in Shatin on Saturday, where she remains in critical condition.

The doctor and his staff will be asked for throat samples.

Chuang reminded doctors in private clinics not to let their guard down with patients with respiratory symptoms, saying they should arrange for them to be tested for Covid-19.

She also said the government would take into consideration the risk of a sudden outbreak in deciding whether to continue social-distancing measures, which are set to expire on June 4. These include limiting to eight the number of people who can gather in public.

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