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3rd Indonesian maid in agency shelter among 72 new Covid-19 cases

10 August 2020

By The SUN

The infected helper stayed in a dormitory above David Cheung's Detective Agency office (with blue sign)

A third Indonesian domestic helper staying in a boarding house run by an employment agency was among 72 new Covid-19 cases reported today, Aug. 9, which brought Hong Kong’s total tally to 4,080.

The 44-year-old maid was tested while staying in a unit at 74 Heung Wo Street in Tsuen Wan, which is operated by David Cheung Employment Agency.

According to Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection, the Indonesian was in-between jobs and was tested at the initiative of the agency, along with four other helpers living with her. She was the only one who tested positive.



“We are still carrying out an investigation,” said Chuang. “(But) there may not be many people involved.”

The new infection was reported as the government was poised to conduct free testing of all foreign domestic workers staying in agency-run dormitories, an offshoot of two Indonesians testing positive for Covid-19 last week, one of whom stayed in four different places.

Chuang said today that no new infections were found in the tests conducted in the dormitories where the two previously infected helpers had stayed.


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She also deflected persistent queries from reporters about taking infection control measures targeting FDHs, with one reporter adding, “especially now that there are many gathering outside.”

Chuang said, “We have four thousand cases. Of course, there are foreign domestic helpers and local Hongkongers. It’s not surprising that they are testing positive as well. If you really want to cut the transmission chain, the best thing to do is to maintain social distancing.”

Chuang rejected notion of infection control measures targeting only FDHs
Of the new cases, nine were imported, including a 36-year-old Filipina domestic helper who tested positive the day after arriving from Manila.

Six are seafarers who were on a quarantined cargo ship off Lamma island. Chuang said staff from the Port Health Division distributed sample vials on board after one crew who boarded the ship after leaving the airport, was found positive for Covid-19.



However, Chuang said the ship had previously traveled to Singapore and Malaysia before docking in Hong Kong, so the source of infection was not clear. She said all the infected crew members would be transferred to local hospitals for treatment.

The two other cases were a returnee from the United States who tested positive while under quarantine, and another from Gambia.

Dr Lau Ka-yin of the Hospital Authority reported the deaths of three elderly patients, who raised the total fatality toll to 51. But hours later, a government statement said another patient died at Prince of Wales Hospital, pushing the death toll to 52.
The three patients who earlier succumbed to the disease were confined at Tuen Mun Hospital, North District Hospital, and Queen Mary Hospital, respectively.

Chuang reported that two more people tested positive at the Sage Kai Yip Home for the Elderly in Kowloon Bay, which made it necessary to evacuate more than 40 residents and staff from there.
“We think that there is an outbreak in that care home,” she said.



Lau, on the other hand, noted one hospital case where a 70-year-old man who was admitted to Kwong Wah Hospital last Monday tested negative twice for the virus, but was eventually found infected.

He said this could be due to either of three factors: the patient had a low viral load initially, or because of variations in the sampling method and sensitivity of the tests. But he said it was likely the patient had been infected before he was admitted to hospital.



Lau said that as of 9am, 1,041 patients remained in public hospitals and the treatment facilities at Lei Yue Mun and AsiaWorld-Expo. Of these, 41 are in critical condition, 59 are serious, and 941 are stable.
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