HK Covid-19 cases approach 400; LKF band members add to tally

March 25, 2020 12:36
A man walks near a shuttered pub in Lan Kwai Fong on March 23 amid the coronavirus outbreak. The popular nightlife area has been linked to several Covid-19 cases in the city. Photo: Reuters

Thirty people tested positive for the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) on Tuesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong to 386, plus one probable case.

Among the newly confirmed patients, comprising 18 males and 12 females whose ages ranged from 15 to 66, more than one third had no travel history during the incubation period, according to the Centre for Health Protection (CHP).

The Lan Kwai Fong (LKF) nightlife spot was again linked to some new cases, as more members of a music band that often performs at restaurants and bars in the area fell victim to the virus.

According to the CHP, five more Filipino members of a band tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday, taking the cluster’s total to eight.

One of the employees of a bar in which the band performed also got infected with the virus.

The Department of Health (DH) has told the bars or venues concerned to conduct disinfection. It is left to the operators to decide whether to suspend business in view of the outbreak

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the CHP’s Communicable Disease Branch, told a daily briefing that members of the band had been in close proximity with one another and none of them wore a face mask while performing in bars in Lan Kwai Fong.

Describing musical performances in crowded venues as a high-risk activity, Chuang reminded people on the importance of "social distancing", RTHK reported.

As there were too many people in the bars when the band was playing, it would take a long time to trace all of them, the official said, adding that the only suggestion she can give at this moment is that the citizens should seek medical help as soon as possible if they feel unwell.

As more and more people were found to have visited LKF before they became confirmed patients, another three bars in the area besides those visited by the band said on Tuesday that they will temporarily close their doors.

The move came after the establishments received a notice from the DH alerting them that their outlets had been patronized by some of the patients.

As for the other cases, three clusters recorded more infections on Tuesday, including that involving a wedding banquet held at Discovery Bay on March 14.

The other clusters pertained to social gatherings that took place at the Cheung Lung Industrial Building in Cheung Sha Wan and at a building at Wong Chuk Hang.

Asked by media if there will be tougher measures to ensure more social distancing, Chuang said that although authorities can adopt measures to ban some venues from operating or holding gatherings, it will be difficult to ban private gatherings.

Avoiding non-essential gatherings is the responsibility of the general public, she said.

– Contact us at [email protected]

TL/JC/RC