Covid-19 cases tied to North Point temple rise to nine

February 26, 2020 13:32
More coronavirus infections were linked to Fook Wai Ching She at Maylun Apartments in North Point. Photo: HKEJ

Four more people tested positive for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on Tuesday, bringing the total number of infection cases in Hong Kong to 85, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) under the Department of Health said.

A mother who had visited the Fook Wai Ching She, a Buddhist temple in a residential building on Shu Kuk Street in North Point, and her son were among the new cases, bringing to nine the number of cases linked to the temple, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The 55-year-old woman (the 83rd case), who lives in Hong Fook Court of Bedford Gardens in North Point with her 24-year-old son (84th), have developed coughing since Feb. 17. The woman works as a chef at the KFC branch in Ming Yuen Centre in North Point.

She is now in stable condition at the Ruttonjee Hospital after her respiratory sample tested positive for Covid-19, a government press release issued on Tuesday night said.

Other infections tied to the temple were the 64th, 65th, 70th, 73rd, 74th, 76th and 77th cases.

The woman, who had no travel history during the incubation period, is the younger sister of the 76th case confirmed on Monday.

Her son, who works in an office in Central’s Lyndhurst Tower, did not visit the temple and was asymptomatic, but he still tested positive for Covid-19.

Other family members living with the two patients, including the woman’s husband, daughter and mother-in-law, are all asymptomatic and will be arranged for quarantine, according to the government press release.

The CHP urged other people who had visited the temple in January and February and developed relevant symptoms to call the CHP hotline.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, said most of the 33 environmental samples taken inside and outside the temple, including from door handles, lift buttons and light switches, were negative for the virus, but two came back positive – one from the tap handle and another from a prayer book.

Staff from the health department will take samples from the temple again after one week to see if the virus still exists.

Infection risk not high

Asked about the risk of infection at the KFC branch where the woman worked, Chuang said the risk is not considered high since all the workers in the outlet were said to be wearing masks and food was processed under high temperature.

KFC Hong Kong announced that the branch would be closed from Tuesday to March 9 for disinfection and quarantine of employees. All members of the staff will undergo home quarantine for 14 days.

When asked if there is a risk of the virus spreading across North Point, Chuang admitted that the sources of some cases in the district cannot be traced, adding that it could have spread in other areas, although not at a very high rate.

The 82nd case confirmed on Tuesday involves a 33-year-old man who is the son of the 72nd case confirmed on Feb. 23. He lives in Choi Tin House of Hing Tin Estate in Lam Tin and works at the Mong Kok East MTR Station.

The patient developed fever on Feb. 20 and was admitted to the United Christian Hospital (UCH) on Feb. 24. He is now in stable condition, the government press release said.

His mother who lives with him is asymptomatic and is currently under quarantine.

MTR has conducted disinfection operations at the station. It has also asked employees at the station who had close contact with the patient to conduct self-quarantine at home and contact the health department.

Jockey Club member

The 85th confirmed case involves a 60-year-old woman who lives at Block 4 of Swiss Towers at 113 Tai Hang Road in Tai Hang.

She started coughing on Feb. 12 and consulted a private doctor several times before she was admitted to the Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital (HKSH) on Monday and transferred to the Queen Mary Hospital on Tuesday, where her respiratory sample tested positive for Covid-19.

The woman, who is a Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) member, is now in stable condition.

Chuang said the woman had been to other places, including the Man Mo Temple in Sheung Wan and a dim sum restaurant. She also attended a wedding while being sick.

The Man Mo Temple group said all of its four temples in Hong Kong would be closed for 14 days starting from Wednesday.

As she also used the HKJC gym on Feb. 11 and visited its food plaza and LEVADE shopping area in Happy Valley on Feb. 14, the club has closed those facilities, as well as the nearby Six Furlong restaurant and the swimming pool and changing rooms, until further notice, RTHK reported.

Club employees who worked in the facilities on the day the patient visited them have been told to self-quarantine for 14 days.

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