52 virus cases reported in Hong Kong as more restrictions expected amid worsening outbreak

Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a road in Sheung Wan on July 13, 2020. Photo: Coconuts Media
Pedestrians wearing face masks cross a road in Sheung Wan on July 13, 2020. Photo: Coconuts Media

Hong Kong reported 52 more coronavirus infections—41 local—on Monday amid reports that authorities will soon announce stricter public health restrictions to fight the worsening outbreak.

Of the new local cases, 21 are related to previously confirmed infections involving relatives and colleagues of patients who were recently diagnosed.

Two additional restaurant clusters have also emerged. Six new cases have been traced to Green River Restaurant in Tsz Wan Shan Shopping Center. The owner’s wife of and a chef at Dim Sum Square in Sheung Wan has also tested positive. The owner is a preliminary positive case.

At an elderly home in Wong Tai Sin where over 30 people have tested positive, authorities confirmed three more infections. They include two 86-year-old residents and the husband of a resident who was diagnosed with the virus last week.

The source of 20 new cases—or about half of the infections confirmed today—is unknown.

“It is very possible that there are a lot of asymptomatic or mildly sympomatic cases in the community,” Chuang Shuk-kwan, Head of the Center for Health Protection’s Communicable Disease Branch, told reporters during an afternoon press conference. She appealed to citizens to stay home and reduce unnecessary meeting with others.

“We need everybody to remain vigilant and observe personal hygiene and social distancing,” Chuang added.

Read more: Hong Kong schools to close early for the summer amid sharp rise in COVID-19 cases

Among the new infections today is a 35-year-old man who donated blood at the Red Cross’ West Kowloon Donor Center on July 5.

According to Lau Ka-hin, chief manager quality and standards for the Hospital Authority, the patient’s platelets were recently infused into the bloodstream of an individual with chronic illnesses. The recipient, who is not experiencing any negative effects at the moment, will be quarantined and monitored.

Hong Kong’s outbreak took a sudden turn for the worst last week. Authorities have been recording double-digit increases in the number of local infections since Wednesday, and 47 were reported over the weekend alone.

Just last month, the city was recording zero local cases on most days.

Public health experts are urging the government to tighten social distancing restrictions amid what many are calling a third wave of the virus.

Ho Pak-leung, a microbiologist from the University of Hong Kong, said in a Monday morning interview with RTHK that the maximum number of people per table at restaurants should be halved from eight to four—a return to the restrictions that were enforced during the virus’ peak in March.

A total of 1,521 COVID-19 infections have been confirmed in Hong Kong as of Monday, and five patients are in critical condition. Seven people have succumbed to the virus.

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