Hong Kong confirmed 10 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, ending a 17-day single-digit streak as health authorities launched a voluntary testing scheme for residents of Tai Po, where some cases had emerged in recent days.
The new figures pushed the city’s official tally to 5,374, with 107 related deaths.
Of the 10 fresh infections, three were untraceable local cases. The remaining seven patients had recent travel history: two returning from the Philippines; two others from France; and the rest from Indonesia, Serbia and Kenya.
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One of the three local cases involved a 50-year-old man who lives at Hong Wo House of Po Nga Court in Tai Po. He works at Everbright Centre on Gloucester Road in Wan Chai and last reported for duty on Friday.
He was the ninth resident in Tai Po to be infected in seven days.
Another local patient was a 38-year-old woman, a foreign national, who lives at Crestmont Villa in Discovery Bay. She works at Champion Tower in Central and was last there on October 16.
The final local case was a 42-year-old woman who lives in Yuen Long’s Green Villa. Her husband was earlier confirmed to be infected. Her case was classified as untraceable because she told authorities she had no recent contact with her partner.
The last time Hong Kong reported a double-digit daily rise in Covid-19 infections was on October 22, when 11 cases were recorded.
“Given that the situation of Covid-19 infections remains severe and that there is a continuous increase in the number of cases reported around the world, members of the public are strongly urged to avoid all non-essential travel outside Hong Kong,” a Centre for Health Protection spokesman said.
“The centre also strongly urges the public to maintain at all times strict personal and environmental hygiene, which is key to protection against infection, and prevention of the spread of the disease in the community.”
In an official blog post, Secretary for Food and Health Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee wrote that the government would stay vigilant over imported cases, as outbreaks remained serious in the Americas and Europe.
“We will continue to monitor how the pandemic develops globally ... and will adopt decisive and more stringent measures when needed to protect residents,” she vowed.
Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung Kin-chung also said on Sunday that Hong Kong would strengthen its “targeted, cautious and strict” Covid-19 control measures.
With the rising number of infections in Tai Po, the government has arranged for testing agency Prenetics Limited to distribute and collect deep-throat saliva sample bottles there for three days, starting from Sunday.
A mobile van will be deployed in front of a Hang Seng Bank branch on 41 Kwong Fuk Road from 1.30pm to 6pm on Sunday, and will be parked there again on Monday and Tuesday, from 10am to 5pm.
“The testing agency will distribute specimen bottles to members of the public for deep-throat saliva samples, and then collect these at the same spot for testing. Positive cases identified will be immediately referred to the Centre for Health Protection under the Department of Health for follow-up,” a government spokesman said.
Nine cases had emerged from Tai Po in seven days, even though authorities had stressed there was no evidence of a community outbreak in the district.
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