More than half of 42 local Covid-19 cases untraceable

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Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection, warned that the number of COVID-19 cases with untraceable links signified silent transmissions in the community. (FILE PHOTO)

Hong Kong health authorities could not account for the source of infection of more than half of the 42 local Covid-19 cases logged today.

The Centre for Health Protection reported a total of 45 new Covid-19 infections in the city, of which 22 were local cases with untraceable origins.

Friday’s figure brought the number of Covid-19 infections recorded in Hong Kong to 9,153. Over 40 people tested preliminarily positive for the virus.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan said the high number of unlinked cases may note significant invisible transmissions in the community.

“Not all of them went to same kinds of gatherings but there could be some invisible transmissions,” Chuang said. “When there are large crowds on the streets then the transmission could become more serious so more people got infected.”

Chuang said the unlinked infections are more sporadic and could not be traced back to gatherings during the holidays.

“Maybe there are some other cases we do not know yet in the community,” she added.

Among these unlinked cases is a nurse in Baptist Hospital’s outpatient clinic who developed symptoms on Jan. 3. She last went to work on Jan. 6 and attended to some patients, including three who tested negative.

Twenty local cases could be traced to existing clusters. These include one worker and three relatives of a previous case from the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin tunnel outbreak—bringing the total number of people in that cluster to 32.

The three imported cases today include a domestic worker from Indonesia who flew to Hong Kong on Dec. 25,  a 24-year-old man from Ireland and a 56-year-old man from Japan.