A Hong Kong primary school on Wednesday canceled activities and classes for a week after a student was found to be infected.
The Centre for Health Protection said nine cases were recorded within the 24 hours on Tuesday, including four imported cases and five local infections. The local patients included a 10-year-old girl, who studied in the Districts Business Welfare Association School (FDBWA) Chow Chin Yau School, and a 48-year-old woman. Both developed symptoms.
The duo are family members of a 49-year-old man. They lived together in Lok Hei House in Siu Hei Court in Tuen Mun in New Territories.
The man felt ill on September 6 but did not seek medical treatment. He took part in the government’s virus testing scheme and tested positive on Sunday. It was believed that the man, who visited Do Shing Restaurant in Yau Oi Estate almost every day, was infected in the restaurant and passed the virus to his family.
Separately, a 61-year-old man and his 63-year-old wife, who lived in Oi Fai House in Yau Oi Estate and visited the same restaurant two to three times a week, also tested positive on Sunday. Last week, some patients said they had visited restaurants near there.
David Hui Shu-cheong, chairman of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, said the cluster linked to Do Shing Restaurant had raised the alarm about a community outbreak. Hui said the ban of public gatherings with more than four people should not be lifted for the moment.
Leung Chi-chiu, chairman of the Medical Association’s advisory committee on communicable diseases, said the public had to stay vigilant on social distancing rules as local infections could rebound significantly in the next two weeks as schools resumed. Leung said people should reduce social activities during the Mid-Autumn Festival on October 1.
Arisina Ma, president of the Hong Kong Public Doctors’ Association, said the pandemic would probably get worse again in winter.
“Countries around Hong Kong are actually getting more and more cases so I think the fourth wave may come quite soon and may be even worse than the third or the second wave,” said Ma.
The “third-wave” epidemic broke out in Hong Kong in early July as dozens of patients were identified after they visited two restaurants in Kowloon. It was said that some taxi drivers, who were infected by newly arrived sea and air crews, had spread the virus in the restaurants, resulting in thousands of infections in the community.
According to the Center for Health Protection, the newly infected 10-year-old student was among 30 pupils with special needs who had returned to the school. She was last at the school on September 11 before she fell ill the next day and tested positive on Tuesday.
That prompted the school to cancel activities due to start on Wednesday for primary six students.
From Wednesday, schools could allow up to a sixth of their students to return for half-day activities before face-to-face classes resume in phases from September 23. The Education Bureau said last month that face-to-face classes for primary one, five and six children would resume on September 23 while the rest would be allowed back from September 29.
However, the bureau said there was no need to shut down the FDBWA Chow Chin Yau School for 14 days or require all the teachers and students who had recently returned to the school to be tested.
As a precaution, students who had been back in school so far would be tested or be in self-isolation for 14 days before they were allowed to return, said Shum Yiu-kwong, the principal of the FDBWA Chow Chin Yau School.
Testing had also been arranged for staff who had contact with the 10-year-old, and all staff would be tested this week, Shum said, adding that the campus was also being disinfected.