Hong Kong has recorded 52 new coronavirus infections in one of the highest daily jumps since the discovery of multiple community clusters.

Health authorities on Monday said 11 of them were imported from overseas, 21 had epidemiological links with previous cases and 20 had unknown sources.

File photo: May James/HKFP.

The fresh round of local infections has sparked fears of a resurgence in a city that has largely avoided a lockdown.

Dr Lau Ka-hin, chief manager quality and standards for the Hospital Authority, confirmed that one of the new cases involved a man who donated blood at the West Kowloon Donor Centre on July 5 but tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday. He said authorities are tracking down recipients of the blood, however, the chance of infection for them would be “very, very low” – citing cases in South Korea and during the 2003 SARS as well as 2012 MERS outbreaks.

‘No identifiable source’

Head of the communicable disease branch of the Centre for Health Protection, Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, said the surge could be due to asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic cases in the community.

“For containment strategy, we are isolating the cases, [looking to] trace the contacts and quarantine them under quarantine facilities and also test those who are not close contacts to try to find out more cases,” she added. “But this type of strategy alone might not be able to slow down the epidemic at this stage because we are seeing more and more local cases without an identifiable source.”

Chuang said government officials will announce further anti-epidemic measures as soon as possible.

There were 2,596 people inside quarantine centres as of Sunday morning, with fewer than 400 units available, she added.

Plastic barriers are used in the middle of tables enforcing social distancing measure seen in a restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic in Hong Kong on April 7, 2020. File photo: May James/HKFP.

First detected in Hubei province in China, Covid-19 has infected nearly 13 million people worldwide and led to at least 569,128 deaths, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University.

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Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.