Coronavirus cases surpass 70 over the weekend as North Point temple linked to latest spread

Food and Environmental Hygiene personnel disinfect the sidewalk outside the Maylun Apartments building, the site of a Buddhist temple where at least four temple-goers reportedly caught the coronavirus. Screengrabs via YouTube and Apple Daily video.
Food and Environmental Hygiene personnel disinfect the sidewalk outside the Maylun Apartments building, the site of a Buddhist temple where at least four temple-goers reportedly caught the coronavirus. Screengrabs via YouTube and Apple Daily video.

Health officials have confirmed that 74 people in Hong Kong are now confirmed to have the coronavirus, with four of the new cases believed to have caught the virus during a visit to a temple in North Point.

Three of the latest confirmed cases include a 69-year-old woman from Tin Hau, an 80-year-old woman from Chai Wan, and a 76-year-old woman from North Point. The women were referred to by the Centre for Health Protection as cases 70, 73, and 74 respectively.

According to a report by i-Cable from Saturday, case 70 developed a fever and cough on Feb. 13, but didn’t seek hospital treatment until Saturday. She went to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, and subsequently tested positive for the coronavirus.

Case 70 didn’t have any travel history, but did visit the Fook Wai Ching She Temple — which is located inside the Maylun Apartments on Shu Kuk Street in North Point — last month, the same temple visited by one of the previous confirmed cases.

Authorities confirmed on Wednesday evening that a 68-year-old man and his 70-year-old wife from Siu Sai Wan — cases 64 and 65 — tested positive for the coronavirus, and a subsequent investigation found that the wife had visited the temple on at least three occasions around the end of January and the beginning of February.

On Sunday, cases 73 and 74 were confirmed, and an investigation found that both women also visited the temple, and that one of the women actually lived in the building the temple is located in.

Chuang Shuk-kwan, from the CHP, said people living in the building had no reason to be alarmed as the cases were more likely to be “just like a home outbreak or an outbreak involving a lot of close contacts.”

Apple Daily reports that cleaning staff from the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department were seen in protective gear disinfecting the sidewalk outside the building, and some were also spotted inside the building cleaning the temple.

The newspaper reports that the CHP have so far received reports from 30 people saying that they had been at the temple in recent weeks, of which five have been sent to hospital after reporting that they’ve been feeling unwell. Ten have been put into quarantine, and the rest, who are asymptomatic, were put under medical supervision.

Other confirmed cases from the weekend include a 62-year-old man from Lam Tin who told authorities that he had attended a wedding banquet at the Silvercord Tower in Tsim Sha Tsui on Jan. 10, and a 68-year-old man who was one of the passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship, and was among the first batch of Hongkongers to return to the city via a chartered flight on Thursday morning.

Meanwhile, authorities have also confirmed that a 77-year-old man from Hong Kong who was suspected to have the coronavirus had passed away on the mainland. It’s not clear when he died.

A government spokesperson said the man was a long-term resident of Wuhan, and that they have contacted his family in Guangzhou.

The statement also goes on to say that there are 10 Hongkongers from three families who have contracted the virus in Hubei province.

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CITY: HONG KONGCATEGORY: NEWS

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