Four more cases bring Covid-19 infections to 98

March 02, 2020 13:53
There are now 16 Covid-19 patients in the cluster related to the Buddhist temple Fook Wai Ching She on Shu Kuk Street in North Point, according to data from the Centre for Health Protection. Photo: HKEJ

Four more people tested positive for novel coronavirus (Covid-19) infection over the weekend, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong to 98, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) under the Department of Health said.

Two of the newly confirmed cases are associated with the cluster related to the Buddhist temple Fook Wai Ching She on Shu Kuk Street in North Point.

One is a 46-year-old woman (the 95th case) who had no travel history during the incubation period and did not visit the temple. However, she is the daughter-in-law of a 70-year-old female patient who became the 92nd case confirmed on Feb. 27, according to a government press release.

Her mother-in-law visited the North Point temple on Jan. 24 and 25, and made daily visits from Feb. 1 to 8.

The younger woman developed sore throat on Saturday and was admitted to United Christian Hospital. Her saliva specimen tested positive for Covid-19.

She is now in a stable condition, while her husband and son who live with her are under quarantine.

The second of the new temple-linked cases involves a 71-year-old woman (98th) who lives in Hong Shui Court in Lam Tin. It was learned that she had had a meal with the 92nd patient.

The 98th confirmed case has been having coughs and a runny nose since Feb. 12 and called the CHP hotline on Saturday before she was taken to United Christian Hospital. Her respiratory sample tested positive for Covid-19.

She also had no travel history during the incubation period, and is now in a stable condition.

Her son, daughter-in-law and grandson who live with her are asymptomatic and will be arranged for quarantine, according to another government press release.

All in all, there are now 16 Covid-19 patients linked to the temple, data from the CHP showed.

The two other newly confirmed cases involve a couple, a 76-year-old woman (99th) and a 79-year-old man (100th), both with underlying illnesses, who live in Un Lok House of Un Chau Estate in Sham Shui Po. 

The woman sought medical attention at the Caritas Medical Centre where she was admitted on Friday and the man sought medical attention at the same hospital and admitted on Saturday. Their respiratory samples tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday.

They had no travel history during the incubation period and are now in stable condition, the press release said.

There were also two probable cases reported on Sunday, involving a 68-year-old woman (96th) and a 56-year-old man (97th).

They stayed on the Diamond Princess cruise ship from Jan. 25 to Feb. 21 and returned to Hong Kong by the second chartered flight arranged by the government on Feb. 22.

According to the CHP, the woman had been running a fever between Feb. 16 and 17 and has been coughing since Feb. 27 while the man has remained asymptomatic.

After their blood samples tested positive for Covid-19 antibody, they were transferred from the Chun Yeung Estate quarantine camp to Queen Mary Hospital for further management.

Return to office work

On Monday, government workers started returning to work in their offices, raising concerns that the risk of spreading Covid-19 could rise as a result.

Most of them had been working from home since after the Lunar New Year holiday.

In a press conference on Sunday, Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, said the decision to allow their gradual return to public offices was made by the administration, and the CHP’s Scientific Committees were not consulted.

Asked how she would evaluate the risk of transmission for most of the government staff returning to their offices, Chuang said that if there is more movement of people, the risk of transmission is higher.

She reminded government workers returning to their offices to maintain good personal and environmental hygiene, including making sure to keep their hands clean.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee told a radio program on Monday morning that an advisory panel of four experts – including Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, a microbiologist at the University of Hong Kong, and Professor David Hui Shu-cheong, a Stanley Ho professor of Respiratory Medicine and director of the Stanley Ho Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases at the Chinese University of Hong Kong – had discussed the reopening of public sector offices.

The panel suggested that the government gradually resume its services, although special arrangements should be implemented such as flexible working and lunchtime hours for the employees, Chan said.

Government staff should remain vigilant and keep their distance from each other, she stressed.

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