Hong Kong reported 61 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, 58 of which are local cases.
Authorities said 19 are family members of already diagnosed patients while some are workplace infections.
The number of cases linked to a Mong Kok banquet celebrating Hong Kong’s handover anniversary has increased to eight, with four more attendants of the dinner testing positive today.
Another three infections are patients who had visited the Fu Lum Restaurant, bringing the cluster to a total of nine cases.
The figures today bring the number of COVID-19 infections in the city to more than 2,000. Over 500 are from last week alone.
Among the unlinked cases is a 64-year-old who works as an escort for the elderly. According to Chuang Shuk-kwan, Head of the Center for Health Protection’s Communicable Disease Branch, her daily responsibilities include taking elderly patients from their care homes to hospitals and clinics.
Chuang said authorities are already working to distribute testing bottles to elderly homes around the city, and will make sure that the homes she visited will be prioritized.
That the patient has been in contact with a number of elderly individuals, Chuang added, is “quite worrying.”
Two more deaths have also been reported involving a 77-year-old and 87-year-old, both male patients. The latter was a resident at the Wong Tai Sin elderly home where over 40 infections have been recorded. The new fatalities bring the number of virus-related deaths to 14.
The steep rise in cases over the past two weeks has added unprecedented burden to the city’s public healthcare system. To cope with the continuing surge in infections, authorities are preparing the conversion of Lei Yue Mun Park and Holiday Village in Chai Wan and Asia-World Expo near the airport into holding facilities for stable COVID-19 patients.
Chuang also asked asymptomatic individuals not to go to clinics for testing if they haven’t been in contact with a virus patient.
“If you have no symptoms and are just worried, please do not go to get tested because you will burden the medical system such that those who really need [to be tested] have to wait longer,” she said.
Hong Kong is in the thick of fighting a third wave of the coronavirus outbreak, and public health experts say stricter measures—like a city-wide curfew—may be necessary to curb the worsening crisis.
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