The Covid-19 virus has been spread to yoga and music studios in Hong Kong by way of the hobbies of infected members of the “dance club cluster.”
The Center for Health Protection said 81 cases were recorded, six imported and 75 local, within the 24 hours on Wednesday. Of the local patients, 59 were related to the cluster, which is the biggest infected group in Hong Kong with 311 patients as of Thursday.
An employee of the Siu King Care and Attention Home in To Kwa Wan was infected in a dance club. Fortunately, the 30 employees and 20 elderly people in the facility tested negative.
Wu Ho-mun, a 77-year-old doctor who worked in a clinic on the ground floor of Fu Shun House, Fu Shan Estate in Wong Tai Sin, was among the cluster. He felt ill on Monday but continued to work until Wednesday. His clinic colleagues were sent to quarantine centers.
A 63-year-old security guard at Fu Shun House tested positive on Tuesday.
Also in the Wong Tai Sin district, some patients who had visited the Band Stage Live Music bar on Fei Fung Street and Lucky Dragon Palace Restaurant were identified.
Some performers who were infected in dance clubs had visited the Band Stage Live Music bar, which was crowded on November 20, said Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease branch of the Center for Health Protection.
Some others attended yoga classes in Philip Wain in Tsim Sha Tsui and Causeway Bay and visited the Rendezvous Arts Center in Prince Edward, A&B Dance Studio in Causeway Bay and Lucky Dragon Restaurant in Shek Kip Mei, she said.
Chuang said people who had recently been to these premises were required to take the tests.
Health officials are still tracing the sources of 13 other cases, including a student of Fukien Secondary School in Siu Sai Wan. The school was advised to suspend classes and have its students tested.
A 25-year-old customs officer going through training in Tai Lam and a nurse at Gleneagles Hospital also caught the virus via unknown sources.
From Saturday, private doctors will be given the power to order patients with symptoms to undergo tests, said Health Secretary Sophia Chan. Private doctors are generally receptive of the idea and have agreed to work closely with the government on the matter, Chan said.
Chan urged people to abide by their doctors’ instructions, saying getting tested early is crucial to stopping silent transmission within the community. If a patient refuses to take a test, they could end up with a HK$25,000 fine and up to six months in prison.
Over the next few days, testing centers at the Lai King, Tuen Mun, Fanling, Hang Hau and Yau Tong community halls will begin operation to cater for an expected surge in demand. Specimen bottles will also be distributed at the territory’s 121 post offices from Saturday.