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FDWs reminded anew to observe gathering rules as 45 Covid-19 cases reported

08 January 2021

By The SUN

Among the targeted places is this footbridge in Mong Kok

The Labour Department says an inter-agency patrol of favorite haunts of foreign domestic workers will continue this weekend, and warns “enforcement action” will be taken against those who still refuse to follow social distancing measures.

A statement released today, Jan 8, said Labour, along with the Hong Kong Police, the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, the Home Affairs Department and the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will again take part in the joint operation.

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Among the places they will monitor are Central, Tamar Park in Admiralty and the footbridge near Fa Yuen Street in Mong Kok, which are all known hangouts of Filipino and Indonesian domestic workers.

The task force will, in particular, target those who violate the regulations that prohibit more than two people to gather in public, or mandate the wearing of face masks in all public places and mass transportation.

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Violators are liable to pay a fixed penalty of $5,000, which is more than the minimum monthly salary of an FDW.

The advisory said that during the New Year holidays last week, the joint forces issued 51 fixed penalty notices, but did not indicate how many, if any, of those penalized were FDWs.

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Meanwhile, the daily Covid-19 cases increased slightly to 45, which health officials say they find worrying.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, said the fluctuating numbers indicated the epidemic has yet to be put under control.

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Of the new cases, 42 were locally acquired, and 22 of these were from unknown sources, up from five the previous day.

Chuang said the figures could reflect the situation late last month or the start of the year, when there were lots of people on the streets because of the holidays.

The large holiday crowds could have led to a surge in untraceable cases

“It’s worrying, but it may reflect the fact that there were a lot of people on the streets recently, so the risk of transmission was high,” she said.

She said many of the new unlinked cases did not attend mass gatherings lately, suggesting there are still a lot of undetected infections in the community.

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Among the three imported cases was a 37-year-old Indonesian domestic worker who arrived on Christmas day and tested positive while in quarantine. The two others were a 24-year-old male returnee from Ireland, and a 56-year-old man who came from Japan.

Among the local cases with an unknown source was a nurse from the outpatient clinic at Baptist Hospital and a patient care assistant at Tseung Kwan-O hospital.

Three members of a family living in Fung Chak House in Choi Wan Estate were among more than 40 preliminary positive cases.

Residents of the estate were made to undergo a second round of compulsory testing after sewage samples from there were consistently found to have coronavirus. But Chuang said the infected family members were caught in the first round of testing.

Linda Yu, a chief manager of the Hospital Authority, reported that there had been one more Covid-related death in the past 24 hours. An 86-year-old female patient with chronic ailment passed on at Caritas Medical Centre, raising the death toll to 155.

A total of 616 infected patients are being treated at 22 public hospitals and the treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo. They include 43 who are in critical condition, 46 in serious condition, and 527 who are stable.

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