Medical experts have urged the Hong Kong government to close loopholes in its anti-epidemic measures after four Covid-19 infections were identified in the previous 48 hours.
On Monday, the Centre for Health Protection said a 68-year-old man tested positive after he was sent to the United Christian Hospital in the morning. It was unclear how he was infected.
Separately, a 30-year-old man was infected. He was a colleague of a 59-year-old man who was identified as patient 1,269 in the city on Sunday. Both were chefs at the Bun Kee Congee & Noodle Foods in Ping Shek Estate in Kwun Tong.
The 59-year-old also worked for a restaurant in the River Trade Terminal. He lived in Yuk Shek House, Ping Shek Estate, and developed symptoms on June 30. He was admitted to Yan Chai Hospital on Saturday and was transferred to Princess Margaret Hospital.
Leung Chi-chiu, chairman of the advisory committee on communicable diseases at the Hong Kong Medical Association, said the man might have been infected by seafarers who were exempted from mandatory tests and quarantine measures.
According to the Transport and Housing Bureau, about 8,000 seafarers were exempted from coronavirus tests between February 8 and June 21.
On July 1, a 46-year-old woman was identified as patient 1,233. The Centre for Health Protection said she may have caught the virus from her husband and son who returned from the United Sates last month. The family lived in Mei Sau House, Mei Tin Estate, Tai Wai.
The woman developed fever, malaise and cough on June 26 and sought medical advice from a private practitioner in Lam Tin on the same day. She had also visited some vegetables and meat stalls near Tai Wai Market and a supermarket in Mei Tin Estate before admission to hospital.
During an half-an-hour tea gathering on June 24, she could have transmitted the virus to a 41-year-old female friend, who was identified as case 1,263 case on Sunday. The two women had taken off their masks during the gathering.
The 41-year-old worked at the clinic on Castle Peak Road in Cheung Sha Wan. She’s responsible for dispensing drugs and is not in direct contact with patients. She began showing symptoms on July 3 and was admitted to Princess Margaret Hospital.
Apart from local infections, Hong Kong is also facing a rising epidemic risk from imported cases. In the week to Monday, 79 imported cases were reported. They included 43 people from India, 20 from Pakistan, four from the Philippines, four from Indonesia and eight from other countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Egypt, Kazakhstan and Turkey..
Lawmakers and employer groups have urged the Hong Kong government to set up a centralized quarantine center for 12,600 Filipino domestic workers due to arrive in the city this month. However, the government has not taken any action. It said employers should provide their workers with accommodation and food during the quarantine period.
On Saturday, three Filipino domestic workers were identified as infected. A 36-year-old Filipina, who was asymptomatic, arrived Hong Kong on July 3. She left her saliva sample at the airport and was allowed to be quarantined at her employer’s home at Tower, the Waterfront, Austin Road West. Her sample was tested positive on Sunday.
She told the health officials in Hong Kong that she had taken a transit flight in Taiwan but did not disclose that she was staying in the Philippines between December 26, 2019 and last Friday.
Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, warned that a person could be jailed for up to six months and fined HK$5,000 (US$645) for failing to disclose his or her health information when entering Hong Kong.
Another Filipino domestic worker, 30, who developed a cough on July 2, arrived in Hong Kong on July 3. She tested positive for the virus at the Asia World-Expo and was sent to a hospital. A 38-year-old Filipino domestic worker, who arrived in Hong Kong on June 20 without having any symptoms, was identified as infected on Saturday.