Sat. Jan 16th, 2021

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) today said it is investigating 29 additional COVID-19 cases, of which 26 are locally transmitted. Half of the local cases have unknown sources of infection.

At a press briefing this afternoon, the centre’s Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan noted the cases comprise 13 males and 16 females, aged between two months and 81.

Of the cases linked with previous ones, two are from the Central Kowloon Route – Central Tunnel construction site cluster and another two are related to the Tseung Kwan O – Lam Tin Tunnel cluster.

Meanwhile, three buildings have been added to the compulsory testing list, including Yan Shek House at Shek Yam Estate, Kwai Chung which registered five infections in two units and one preliminary positive case in another unit. The three units face the same direction.

Dr Chuang said: “For Yan Shek House, there was only one unit affected yesterday. The case involving a second unit was confirmed today so that is why we will issue a compulsory testing notice today, just like other buildings.

“But as we understand, there is a third unit with a preliminary positive case. That is why we asked experts and other departments to go to the site and see whether there are any abnormal environmental factors that caused this distribution of cases.”

A confirmed and a preliminary positive case were detected at 24 Reclamation Street in Jordan. The CHP has required all the residents from the buildings at nos. 20, 22, 24 and 26 to be quarantined after 27 COVID-19 cases involving 13 units were recently found at nos. 20, 22 and 26.

“For Reclamation Street, we have stepped up all the measures step by step. First, we asked for compulsory testing and then we quarantined all those subdivided flat residents at the quarantine centre.

“But even though we do compulsory testing for all those four buildings, there is still a potential risk of spread of the virus in those buildings if there are some environmental issues, such as hygiene or subdivided flats.”

Dr Chuang added that all relevant factors including the environment of the affected blocks will be considered in deciding whether to evacuate the residents of the buildings concerned.

“The safest and quickest way to stop the transmission, of course, is to evacuate the residents, but it is very difficult to rely on very objective criteria – how many percent of the residents affected or something like that – to decide whether to move all the residents.

“Of course, we need to consider all the factors, whether there are any environmental factors, the behaviour of the residents and also the environmental hygiene, etc. So that is why the Government decided to evacuate the residents, instead of carrying out other measures.“

For information and health advice on COVID-19, visit the Government’s dedicated webpage.

By Bureau