Four contract Covid-19 after visiting temple in North Point

February 24, 2020 13:56
Four of the patients who tested positive for Covid-19 visited the temple Fook Wai Ching She at Maylun Apartments in North Point. Photo: HKEJ

Five more people tested positive for novel coronavirus (Covid-19) infection over the weekend, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong to 74, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) under the Department of Health said.

Three of the newly confirmed cases were connected to the Buddhist temple Fook Wai Ching She on Shu Kuk Street in North Point.

The three elderly women (70th, 73rd and 74th cases) had all visited the temple, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

One of them, a 96-year-old woman (the 70th case) who lives in Fly Dragon Terrace on Tin Hau Temple Road, had been having a fever and coughing since Feb. 13. She sought medical attention at the Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital (PYNEH) on Saturday and her respiratory sample tested positive for the Covid-19 on the same day.

Her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter who live with her are asymptomatic and will be arranged for quarantine, according to a government press release issued on Saturday night.

In a press conference on Sunday, Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, said the 73rd case involves an 80-year-old woman who lives alone at Chin Hing House of Hing Wah (2) Estate in Chai Wan.

After having a cough and sore throat since Feb. 8, she sought medical attention at the PYNEH on Saturday and was admitted for treatment. Her respiratory sample tested positive for the Covid-19 on Sunday.

Chuang said the patient, who is now in stable condition, had visited the temple quite often.

A 76-year-old woman (74th case), who lives in the same building as the temple but on a different floor, also tested positive for the virus at the PYNEH on Sunday.

She is in stable condition and her husband who lives with her is asymptomatic and will be arranged for quarantine, according to a government press release issued on Sunday night.

The woman had visited the temple for a few minutes every morning, Chuang said, adding that disinfection was conducted by staff in protective clothing at the temple on Sunday.

The CHP's epidemiological investigations revealed that the 65th and 70th patients announced earlier and the 73rd and 74th cases announced on Sunday had all visited the Fook Wai Ching She temple in January and February, according to the press release.

People living in the building had no reason to be alarmed as the cases were more likely to be "just like a home outbreak or an outbreak involving a lot of close contacts”, RTHK quoted Chuang as saying.

The CHP urged those who have visited the temple since Jan. 25 should call its hotline at 2125 1122, noting that it has already received calls from at least 30 such people.

Five of them having been admitted to hospitals after they said they were feeling unwell and 10 have been placed in quarantine centers.

Meanwhile, sources on Monday morning said two other women who had visited the temple were initially confirmed to have been infected with the novel coronavirus.

Of the two other newly confirmed cases on Sunday, one involved a 68-year-old male passenger of Diamond Princess cruise ship (the 71st case), which has been quarantined in Yokohama, Japan for several weeks.

He returned to Hong Kong by a chartered flight arranged by the government on Feb. 20 and developed fever and cough on the same day.

He was transferred from the Chun Yeung Estate quarantine center to Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Saturday and admitted for treatment, before his respiratory sample tested positive for the Covid-19 a day later.

He is now in stable condition while his wife, who travelled with him on the cruise, has no symptoms and is currently under quarantine.

Four other people who returned from the cruise ship on the chartered flights tested positive for the Covid-19 initially, sources said, adding that the four on Sunday were sent to Queen Mary Hospital for quarantine and further tests.

The other case involved a 62-year-old man (the 72nd case) who lives in Choi Tin House of Hing Tin Estate in Lam Tin with good past health.

He developed fever and cough on Feb. 10 and consulted two private doctors from Feb. 13 to 18. He was admitted on Saturday to the United Christian Hospital, where he tested positive for the Covid-19 and is now in serious condition. He had no travel history during the incubation period.

Although his wife and son who live with him are all asymptomatic, they will be arranged for quarantine, the government press release said.

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