Hong Kong health authorities reported a record 48 new local coronavirus cases on Friday, almost double the day before. Thirty-six of the infected people had travelled abroad recently.
Among the new cases, aged four to 69, eight were students who had returned from their studies overseas – half from the UK. Another was a taxi driver who had travelled recently but regularly shuttled passengers from the airport.
A foreign domestic worker, Karate athlete Tsang Yee-ting and a four-year-old girl who had spent time in London were among those infected.
Most of the new cases had travel histories in Europe, Canada and the US, as well as Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines. Some had contracted the virus at a wedding in Discovery Bay and while visiting popular nightlife area Lan Kai Fong.
Head of the Communicable Disease Branch of the Centre for Health Protection, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, said authorities estimated that the rate of new cases will continue for another two weeks or more, given the number of Hong Kong residents returning from overseas.
“We may expect the high number of cases to remain for at least a few days or one week or two because the cases we received today – some of them had a travel history a bit earlier. It’s not [only] those who arrived in the past two days,” she said.
Meanwhile, hospitals admitted 267 patients displaying Covid-19 symptoms over the past 24-hours. The Health Authority said in a statement on Friday afternoon that 363 patients remained in isolation and 98 infected patients have recovered and been discharged.
First detected in China’s Hubei province, Covid-19 has infected more than 244,000 people, leading to at least 10,000 deaths across 160 countries and territories. Hong Kong has reported 208 cases of infection and four deaths.
Additional reporting: Jennifer Creery.