The Royal Garden, a five-star hotel in Hong Kong’s Tsim Sha Tsui district, was ordered to evacuate all its guests on Friday and close for two weeks after a cluster of four people infected with the coronavirus were identified in the building.
About 300 male staff at the hotel were sent to quarantine centers on Friday, while more than 100 guests had to move to other places and submit saliva samples for testing, according to the Centre for Health Protection.
All the hotel’s female employees tested negative, but will have to be tested again on Monday.
The Centre for Health Protection said Friday a total of eight cases were recorded, including one imported from India, six that could be linked to previous cases and one local infection with an unknown source, within the 24 hours on Thursday.
Since a 43-year-old man working in a Vietnamese restaurant in the Royal Garden Hotel tested positive last Monday, health officials delivered 600 sample bottles to employees and guests and found three more who tested positive, which including a chef at a cafe and a waiter at an Italian restaurant on the third floor and an air-conditioning technician on another floor.
All four of those infected had used the male changing room during their incubation periods and all the male employees who visited the same room have been categorized as close-contacts and sent for quarantine.
Only the male staff, and not all staff and guests, were required to be isolated as it was a mini-outbreak in the men’s changing room, said Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection.
Health officials would continue to monitor the condition of those related to this cluster, Chuang said.
Meanwhile, a 25-year-old jobless man, who lived in a flat at 108 Ki Lung Street in Prince Edward with his family, was admitted to the Hong Kong Sanatorium & Hospital on Wednesday and tested positive on Thursday.
He told health officials that he did not have many social activities, except having meals outside with his family. However, a friend who had visited the China Secret bar in Tsim Sha Tsui tested positive.
The number of local infections in Hong Kong with no known source remained high, showing there were many invisible chains of transmission in the community, said David Hui Shu-cheong, chairman of the Department of Medicine and Therapeutics at The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
Hui said the infections linked to bars was worrying. He said the government would have to tighten social distancing measures if more Covid-19 cases related to bars emerged. He added that the new coronavirus was still highly contagious and social distancing measures were only effective if the bar sector stuck to the rules.
He added that the cases of two students getting infected was not serious enough to ask all schools to suspend classes.
Chui Tak-yi, the Undersecretary for Food and Health, said the government would start delivering sample bottles in Lan Kwai Fong in Central in a bid to lure bar customers to submit samples for testing. Chui said testing centers would be set up in Kwai Tsing, Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui and Kowloon City.
On Friday, one more person who lived in a residential care home for people with disabilities in Kwai Chung had preliminarily tested positive. Prior to this, a dozen people had been identified as being infected in the facility.
Shiu Ka-chun, a lawmaker representing the social welfare sector, said mandatory Covid-19 tests should be launched for staff at the city’s 700 care homes more frequently. Shiu said the current regulation of testing residents and staff at care homes once a fortnight was not effective enough.
He also said he found some staff at care homes did not use protective gear properly and ventilation could be improved.