Residents in Jordan and Yau Ma Tei will be ordered to undergo a coronavirus test if the building in which they are living records any infections, the government announced on Friday, in a tightening of the rules.

The announcement came after an outbreak at a walk-up building on Reclamation Street in Yau Ma Tei recorded at least 27 cases. Yau Tsim Mong district, which encompasses Jordan and Yau Ma Tei, reported 59 cases in total last week, tripling from the 18 cases the week before.

Photo: GovHK.

To cut transmission of the virus in the district, people living in the area between Nathan Road, Jordan Road, Ferry Street, and Kansu Street will from Saturday have to take a test within three days if their building reports one or more cases, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan announced.

Previously residents would be told to take a coronavirus test if their building reported two unrelated cases in the space of 14 days.

A mobile testing station would be set up at the Kwun Chung Sports Centre to supplement the existing testing centre at the Henry G. Leong Yau Ma Tei Community Centre.

Some 79 residents in numbers 20-26 Reclamation Street were evacuated and ordered into quarantine early Thursday.

Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said subdivided flats in the building posed a transmission risk as the sewage pipes were positioned close together.

People living in flat 9 on all floors of Yan Shek House on Shek Yam Estate were ordered into quarantine on Friday, and remaining residents were told to take a test.

Microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung meeting the press after visiting Yan Shek House. Photo: RTHK, via video screenshot.

Leading microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung visited Yan Shek House and described the piping system outside the building as “not ideal.” Grass was growing out of some of the pipes and others had been remodelled, making them prone to leakage and resulting in possible vertical transmission in the building.

More event cancellations

The government announced the cancellations of the Lunar New Year Fireworks Display and Lantern Carnivals. They were the latest events to be scrapped following 15 Lunar New Year fairs and the Che Kung Festival Fair.

Hong Kong is still battling its fourth wave of coronavirus infections. The city recorded 38 coronavirus infections on Friday, of which 35 cases were locally transmitted. Fourteen of the local cases were of unknown origin.

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.