A 38-year-old man has become the youngest Covid-19 patient in Hong Kong to die of complications caused by the influenza A virus.
The man, who had a chronic disease of the nervous system, was sent to a quarantine center last month after a family member from the “dance club cluster” tested positive.
He was sent to the Queen Mary Hospital on November 27 and tested positive on November 28, according to the Center for Health Protection. His condition deteriorated in the following days though he was given antibiotics and the anti-viral drug Remdesivir. He died late on Thursday.
Lau Ka-hin, chief manager for quality and standards at the Hospital Authority, urged the public to get vaccinated for seasonal influenza as early as possible. Lau said research showed that patients could suffer from complications with more than one virus.
An 82-year-old woman died of Covid-19 at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Thursday.
The Center for Health Protection said Friday that 112 cases – 12 imported and 100 local infections – were recorded on Thursday. Of the local infections, 36 had no known source while 17 were linked to the “dance club cluster,” the biggest infected group in Hong Kong with about 600 testing positive.
Five more construction workers and two family members were added to the “construction site cluster” in Lohas Park, which has increased to 32 patients. Nine employees and one family member were identified in the cluster at the Fong Shu Chuen Day Activity Centre and Hostel in Shau Kei Wan. The cluster has grown to 55 patients.
The newly identified local patients included a taxi driver, two students and four people who attended concerts of local pop star Hins Cheung.
Health officials said they were investigating whether the four were infected during the concert or elsewhere. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable diseases branch at the Center for Health Protection, said the four had not been categorized as a cluster because two of them could have been infected by family members.
Emperor Entertainment Group, the organiser of the concert, said the four watched performances on different days between November 22 and 29. Three of them were seated in the same part of the Hong Kong Coliseum – sections 74 and 75 of the yellow gate, while the fourth had been in an unidentified section of the red gate.
The company said it had notified the parties involved, and all performers as well as supporting staff would be asked to take tests.
Cheung said in a Facebook post that he was worried about the infections and wished the patients a speedy recovery. He said the concert organizer had adopted stringent anti-epidemic measures, including requiring audiences to keep their masks on at all times, banning all food and drinks and reminding staff and concert-goers to maintain social distancing.
On Friday, the government announced an increase in fines for people violating social distancing and mask rules from HK$2,000 (US$258) to HK$5,000. The new fines would be implemented from December 11.
The government had planned to raise the fines to HK$10,000 but medical experts warned that some low-income families and domestic workers might not be able to pay.
Caspar Tsui, Secretary for Home Affairs, said Thursday that the government would increase its efforts to implement social distancing and mask rules in the coming weeks, particularly targeting places where domestic workers used to spend their rest days.
It was unclear why Tsui mentioned domestic workers when no cluster was reported in this community in the fourth-wave epidemic. Over the past two weeks, the government has been slammed by netizens for blaming people from different sectors but not punishing any of those from the “dance club cluster.”
Meanwhile, the Hong Kong Tourism Board announced on Friday that a fireworks display on New Year’s Eve and the Chinese New Year parade will be cancelled because of the need to uphold social-distancing measures. That means the event has been canceled for the second straight year. Last year’s countdown was called off because of anti-government protests.
The Standard Chartered Hong Kong Marathon 2021, originally set for January 24, would be postponed to October 24 next year, the Hong Kong Association of Athletics Affiliates and Standard Chartered Bank said.