Hong Kong confirms 95 virus cases as another domestic helper who stayed at boarding house tests preliminary positive

Pedestrians cross a street in Sheung Wan on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Coconuts Media
Pedestrians cross a street in Sheung Wan on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Coconuts Media

Hong Kong confirmed another 95 more coronavirus cases on Thursday, a slight uptick after recording a downward trend earlier this week.

Four of the new infections are imported, including three with recent travel history to India and one who is a domestic helper from the Philippines.

Of the 91 local infections, close to 40 have no known transmission links.

Around 60 people have tested positive in preliminary tests, including an Indonesian helper who stayed at a boarding house in Sheung Wan for a month in July. She moved into her new employer’s home on August 1 and developed symptoms three days later.

Authorities will quarantine her new employer’s family as well as the four to six other helpers she lived with at the facility.

The news sounds further alarm that outbreaks could be underway at boarding homes for domestic workers, where those in between employment stay as arranged by their agencies.

Yesterday, a 37-year-old Indonesian helper who stayed at three boarding facilities tested positive for the virus. The cramped environment of some of these facilities, which can house as many as ten people in a 300 square feet room, are prime conditions for virus to spread—as exhibited by the crises in Singapore’s migrant worker dorms.

Chuang Shuk-kwan, Head of the Center for Health Protection’s Communicable Disease Branch, said authorities are considering widespread testing for domestic helpers living in boarding houses.

One more patient has died of virus complications, bringing the number of related deaths to 44. The 85-year-old man was a resident at an elderly care home in Tuen Mun.

The city appears to be logging a downwards trend in the number of new cases following a 12-day streak of over 100 infections daily that ended Monday. But authorities have cautioned against optimism and said more time is needed to say with certainty that the outbreak is easing.

The government announced earlier in the day that work-from-home arrangements for civil servants will be extended to August 16, and encouraged employers to allow staff to work remotely where possible.

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