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41 new coronavirus cases listed as second outbreak downs 11 in tunnel worksite

03 January 2021

By The SUN 

1 confirmed and 10 preliminary cases were reported from the TKO-Lam Tin tunnel works site

Forty-one new coronavirus cases were reported in Hong Kong today, as a second outbreak was reported at a tunnel construction site in Lam Tin, where a works supervisor tested positive and 10 others were found preliminary positive.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection said workers at the Lam Tin-Tseung Kwan O Tunnel were ordered to undergo compulsory testing.

“There is a mini outbreak in the construction site so we ordered the site to suspend work and required all staff members to go for a test,” Chuang said in the daily press briefing.

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The tunnel construction resumed just after Christmas following the first outbreak last month that forced its shutdown from Dec 9 to 27.

Aside from the supervisor, 10 scaffolding workers and cleaners tested preliminary positive, Chuang said.

“They shared some changing facilities in the container in the site, so it’s possible that in those environments transmission may occur,” Chuang said.

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She said the entire site has about 1,500 workers and that 400-500 were working in the infected section. “We’ll have to find out if all 1,500 will be required to undergo compulsory testing,” Chuang said.  

The lone imported case today was a 22-year-old female student who returned from Britain on Dec 21 for the holidays. She was on her 12th day of quarantine when she tested positive, a Department of Health staff said.

The virus strain that infected the woman will still be determined through laboratory tests, the staff said. So far, eight previous cases from London were found infected with the new, more communicable strain of coronavirus.

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The new cases, which brought the city’s total tally to 8,965, comprised 22 men and 19 women with ages ranging from 9 to 82.

The daily press briefings where Chuang often presided will now move online

Chuang said 24 of the local cases were linked to previous cases while 16 had untraceable sources. Seven patients were found positive at community testing centers. About 30 tested preliminary positive, she said.

Two staff and two residents of the Nethersole Nursing Home were among today’s new cases. Chuang said one staff member had earlier left the care home and was confirmed positive in a quarantine center.

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The CHP official said two new buildings would be subject to compulsory testing, as they had two or more unlinked cases. One is Un Shing House in Un Chau Estate, Cheung Sha Wan. The other is Fai Lam House in Tsui Lam Estate, Tseung Kwan O.

In Un Shing House, there were four infected patients. One unit had three cases and the other had one, said Chuang. In Fai Lam House, Tsui Lam, two units had one infected person each, she added.

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Meanwhile, Dr Sara Ho, chief manager at the Hospital Authority, said as of 9am today, 43 confirmed Covid-19 patients were discharged from hospital in the last 24 hours. So far, 8,011 patients with confirmed or probable infection have been discharged, she said.

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A 69-year-old patient admitted to United Christian Hospital tested preliminary positive today for Covid-19. Four other patients were listed as close contacts, but all have tested negative.

The Department of Health announced that from tomorrow, it will no longer host physical press conferences but will shift to online briefings to minimize the risk of the virus spreading.

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Meanwhile, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has continued to step up patrols together with relevant departments to remind the public about maintaining social distancing and mask-wearing.

The patrols went around places where people gathered, such as malls, public parks and the streets in Central where foreign domestic workers hang out.

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The LCSD said it had given out verbal warnings to more than 8,800 people and issued  39 fixed penalty notices to offenders of the group gathering and mask-wearing regulations between Dec 31 and 4pm today.

Last Sunday, at least two Filipinas were ordered to pay fines of $5,000 each, more than the mandated domestic helper salary, after being caught without masks. More than 40 others were issued the fixed penalty ticket, but their nationalities were not given. 

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