There are now 50 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in Hong Kong after seven more were added to the tally just a few days prior to the Valentine’s Day holiday here in the West.
According to Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP), one of these new seven cases is part of the same family that all contracted coronavirus while sharing a hotpot meal during the Chinese Lunar New Year celebration. Three of the new cases are also connected to Hong Mei House in Tsing Yi’s Cheung Hong Estate, where social welfare staff were evacuated after exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of CHP, told the media that this latest hotpot coronavirus case was kept within the same family, and that there was “no travel history.” However, the three new estate cases are original, he says, and not connected to any previous infection clusters.
“Fulum Group confirmed on Tuesday that a member of its staff at Sportful Garden Restaurant in Wan Chai had been diagnosed with the coronavirus after sharing the new year hotpot meal with family on January 26,” the South China Morning Post is reporting.
“The group said its Wan Chai restaurant had undergone cleaning and disinfection on Monday. It would be closed for 14 days while all staff had also been asked to self-quarantine for two weeks.”
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It would seem as though the concerns expressed by Hong Kong’s Hospital Authority (HA), a large medical workers union, are fully warranted now that we’re seeing a continual uptick in coronavirus infections in this border territory next to China, where mass protests throughout the past month made global headlines.
Because not all ports of entry between China and Hong Kong are fully closed, potentially infected Chinese people are still entering the country and infecting others.
“People need not panic,” contends The University of Hong Kong microbiologist and professor Yuen Kwok-yung about the discovery of potential coronavirus in the ventilation system of a local residential building where at least five individuals had to be evacuated due to symptoms suggestive of novel coronavirus. Later testing, however, all came up negative.
“We are not in an Amoy Gardens situation,” he added in an attempt to reassure the public that nothing is awry.
But is this a false reassurance? The fact that coronavirus is now popping up in restaurants, residential buildings, and elsewhere far away from Wuhan, its epicenter, and well outside the borders of China itself is nothing short of concerning.
There’s also now some concern that coronavirus can spread through sewer systems, which means all bets are off as to just how virulently this deadly virus could spread in the coming days and weeks.
“In Hong Kong, the evacuation of hundreds of people from an apartment building after cases of the new coronavirus were discovered in residents living 10 floors apart has raised suspicions the virus may have spread through the building’s plumbing,” reports CBS News.
“Three residents in one apartment were confirmed earlier this week to have the virus, days after a resident who lives 10 floors above them was diagnosed.”
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Sources for this article include: