Hong Kong recorded six new coronavirus infections on Sunday, with a construction worker the city’s sole locally transmitted case and a number of his colleagues placed in quarantine as a precaution.
The five other cases were imported, among them a domestic worker and returnees from Britain.
Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Centre for Health Protection’s Communicable Disease branch, said the 22-year-old construction worker, who was infected by an unknown source, was working at a site in Kai Tak, and nine colleagues who shared a common room had been identified as close contacts.
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“Even though we have not seen any cases with unknown sources in the past few days, we know they are still out there, and we have one today,” Chuang said. “If we are not careful, it could cause a new outbreak,” she warned.
Of the nine, one had tested preliminary positive for the coronavirus. A second colleague was also feeling ill when the CHP approached him, Chuang said, and had been sent to hospital. The rest will be sent to quarantine centres, as will family members living with the man.
The latest figures bring the city’s total number of infections to 5,065, with 104 related deaths.
Another 500 workers from different construction companies at the same site will also be given collection tubes to collect samples.
Of the five imported cases, two were returnees from Britain, one from Tunisia, one a returning domestic worker from the Philippines, and one from India.
Chuang called on anyone who felt slightly unwell to come forward and get tested, while urging residents to keep up social distancing and other preventive measures.
Meanwhile, Chuang said residents should also get vaccinated ahead of the winter flu season to prevent any complications, after researchers in Europe warned the flu virus could increase the spread of the coronavirus.
Earlier this week, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor had declared the third wave of Covid-19 under control, but warned of the lingering threat of infections with unknown sources.
On Saturday, the city marked its first day without a local Covid-19 case since September 15, with the sole imported infection involving a 48-year-old arrival from Bahrain.
The pandemic has battered Hong Kong’s economy. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.1 per cent in August, but the number of underemployed people hit a 17-year high of 3.8 per cent.