Over 60 confirmed, preliminary COVID-19 cases recorded as HK warns of new infection wave

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Filipino foreign domestic workers in Central. (FILE PHOTO)

Hong Kong’s health minister warned the city has “probably entered” a fourth wave of COVID-19 infection after over 60 confirmed and preliminary positive cases were recorded as of Friday midnight.

Secretary for Food and Health Prof. Sophia Chan warned the fourth wave will “spiral out of control” if the public fails to observe measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“Of course, according to the experts and also the information from the Centre for Health Protection, we have probably entered into a new wave of cases,” Chan said in a media briefing earlier today.

The Centre for Health Protection reported 26 new confirmed COVID-19 cases, nine of which are local infections with untraceable sources. Over 40 preliminary positive cases were detected according to Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, who said that some of these infections were discovered in the Quarry Bay and Yau Ma Tei testing centres.

Several of the confirmed cases include preliminary positive cases mentioned by the CHP yesterday: a construction worker from Yuen Long, a security guard working in Greenwood Garden, and a taxi driver living in Tseung Kwan O, a 73-year-old male, and his 37-year-old relative.

Three other housewives were confirmed to be infected with the coronavirus today. One of them had gone to a birthday gathering on Nov. 16, and the CHP said there were singing and dancing at the event.

Chuang said there were over 100 party attendees, and the CHP will obtain a list of its guests.

A 42-year-old woman living in Crowne Plaza Hotel in Kowloon West also tested positive for COVID-19 but had no traceable source of infection.

Chuang said she had arrived from Japan in early September. She also had meals with friends and had guests over in her room, and her contacts may be put under quarantine.

Nine of the 12 epidemiologically-linked infections were traced back to Starlight Dance Club in Wan Chai. A 75-year-old businesswoman who had gone there on Nov. 14 was previously confirmed to be positive for COVID-19.

Chuang said at least seven of the preliminary positive cases detected today have visited Starlight briefly from Nov. 13 to 14. As a precaution, the CHP will also look into the dance studio’s guests on Nov. 12.

This brings the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases linked to the cluster to 10, including one who did not visit and was only a close contact of a previous studio visitor.

The cluster, however, may expand as Chuang said the club’s dance instructors also teach in two other studios: Dance Culture in Causeway Bay and Heavenly Dance in Sheung Wan.

“It is possible more studios may be involved,” Chuang said. “The dancing teachers, they usually do not teach in only one studio.”

Health minister Chan earlier said that with the surge in cases, they will continue to tighten the measures.

“If you remember back in September, we have already listed six major areas in preparation for the fourth wave, so that our capacity, and also many of our current measures, can be executed as soon as possible in response to this wave,” she said.

Hong Kong has recorded over 5,518 COVID-19 cases to date, with 108 deaths linked to the infection.