Jordan tenement block evacuated as more Covid-19 cases found in area

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Reclamation Street in Jordan. (SOURCE: Google Street Maps/Google)

Concerns over a growing cluster of Covid-19 cases in the Jordan area of Kowloon rise as residents of an old tenement block there will be evacuated to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

All asymptomatic residents of 20, 22, 24, and 26 Reclamation Street will be sent to quarantine centres as the Centre for Health Protection found two new cases of Covid-19—one confirmed and one preliminary positive—in one of the buildings on Thursday. There are 27 cases linked to the block to date, and there have been at least 79 residents evacuated.

The CHP logged 29 new Covid-19 cases: three were imported, 13 were local cases with links to previous infections, while another 13 cases had an unknown source of infection. This brings Hong Kong’s current coronavirus tally to 9,415.

But authorities will conduct Covid-19 education drives beyond Jordan, spanning the Yau Tsim Mong district which has seen 81 local cases in the past two weeks.

Another tenement block on Shanghai Street, only over 100 meters away from the evacuated buildings, was placed under a compulsory testing notice as two flats there had Covid-19 cases. The other two buildings under a mandatory testing order are The Spectra in Yuen Long, and Yan Shek House, Shek Yam Estate in Kwai Chung.

CHP’s communicable disease branch head Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan said several cases in the district were South Asians who worked at the Central Kowloon Route construction and the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin tunnel—both Covid-19 clusters still seeing linked infections.

“Some cases are the construction site workers and foreign domestic workers. So their neighbors may also be affected,” Chuang said.

Two of Thursday’s confirmed local cases were related to the Central Kowloon Route cluster, while another two were linked to the Tseung Kwan O-Lam Tin Tunnel outbreak.

The detection of Covid-19 cases linked to construction sites prompted the government to roll out a one-off free coronavirus testing scheme for workers in these clusters.

Undersecretary for Food and Health Chui Tak-yi announced the testing service will be available from Jan. 15 to 31. Workers will need to book their appointments online to avail of this.

The three imported cases include a 29-year-old domestic worker from the Philippines who arrived on Dec. 24. She completed her quarantine on Jan. 7 when she started coughing.

A few days after staying at her employer’s place, she developed a fever and went to the hospital where she was confirmed. Chuang said her employer’s family will need to be quarantined.

The other two cases involved a 53-year-old aircrew arriving from the United States and a 26-year-old man arriving from Pakistan via Turkey.