‘Trend is worrying’: HK sees 43 confirmed, 60 preliminary COVID-19 cases

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Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection. (isd.gov.hk)

Hong Kong’s health authorities are alarmed by the sudden increase in COVID-19, with 43 new cases confirmed Saturday and over 60 preliminarily positive.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre of Health Protection said the trend is worrying and warned individuals to minimize activities that may further spread the virus over the weekend.

“We are very worried that further increase in number of cases,” Chuang said. “It will be very difficult to control.”

Of the 43 confirmed infections, there were four domestic workers. They belong to the seven imported cases.

Two of these workers hailed from the Philippines: a female aged 44 who arrived on Nov. 19, and a woman aged 35 arriving on Nov. 12. They were under quarantine when they both showed symptoms on Nov. 19.

Two other domestic workers were from Indonesia. An asymptomatic female aged 36 arrived on Nov. 20 and was found to be infected, while another who was under quarantine since her arrival on Nov. 8 tested positive on the second sample she submitted to health authorities.

Of the 36 locally transmitted infections, 21 were traced back to the Starlight Dance Club in Wan Chai. There are now 32 confirmed cases linked to the cluster.

“Many of them—they keep quite some social distancing between those couples who dance, so we’re not sure how this happened,” Chuang explained.

Health authorities also found teachers and students went to other dance venues, bringing the total of areas of possible COVID-19 cross-contamination to 14. Chuang said health authorities are studying the possibility of a COVID-19 “super-spreader” from the dance cluster.

“I’m not sure if it’s caused by one, or there’s some environmental contamination. So this needs to be further studied,” she said.

She then said the Secretary for Food and Health will compel those who visited these 14 dance studios to get tested, else they may be penalized.

There were also 13 new COVID-19 cases without traceable sources of infection. Chuang said most of them have not done high-risk activities—which can signify silent COVID-19 transmission links within the community.

Chuang also urged those who belong to high-risk groups to get tested over the weekend to stop the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong, which has now reached 5,561 to date.