Hong Kong records 33 new virus cases, marking a sharp single-day decline

Shoppers walk in New Town Plaza Phase 3 in Sha Tin on Aug. 12, 2020.
Shoppers walk in New Town Plaza Phase 3 in Sha Tin on Aug. 12, 2020.

Hong Kong authorities confirmed 33 more COVID-19 infections Tuesday, marking the steepest single-day decline since the outbreak worsened last month.

Among the new cases is an Indonesian domestic helper who stayed at a boarding house in Mong Kok for around 10 days before starting work for a new employer in Tai Kok Tsui last week. She fell ill on August 2.

Two more infections were recorded at Kwong Wah Hospital, where a number of patients have tested positive for the virus in the past week.

The figures today, less than half of the 66 recorded yesterday, are the lowest number of new infections in almost a month. The number of daily cases has tracked downwards in the past week, perhaps a sign that tough social distancing restrictions are achieving their intended effects.

“I hope the trend will continue with all the effort from the community and as well as from the government, but still there are a lot of unknown cases in the community… that signifies there is a lot of silent transmission the community,” said Chuang Shuk-kwan, Head of the Center for Health Protection’s Communicable Disease Branch.

Authorities said around 50 preliminary cases are on hand, a sign that the numbers could go back up tomorrow.

To date, over 4,180 COVID-19 infections have been recorded in Hong Kong.

Strict public health restrictions remain in Hong Kong as the city continues to wrestle with the third COVID-19 wave, which is seeing significantly more cases—and deaths—than the first and second. Dining in at restaurants past 6pm has been banned since July 15, and as of around two weeks ago, customers cannot sit more than two to a table.

Last week, the government announced that it would offer one-off, free COVID-19 tests for all citizens. But without complementary policies, such as requiring test-takers to quarantine while awaiting their results, authorities admit that the effectiveness of such a scheme is limited.

Health Secretary Sophia Chan said in an interview with RTHK yesterday that she expects around four to five million citizens to take the test, even though public reception to it so far has been lukewarm.

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