Hong Kong health officials urged medical workers to refrain from socialising with others after four nurses tested positive or preliminary positive for the coronavirus at several hospitals. Hong Kong reported 70 infections on Thursday, with 63 locally transmitted cases, 16 of which had unknown origins.

“We would like to remind our colleagues not to eat together during work or holiday,” said Linda Yu, the HA’s Chief Manager of Clinical Effectiveness and Technology Management. “It’s soon Lunar New Year holiday, we hope that our colleagues can tolerate for a bit [longer] and maintain social-distancing.”

Coronavirus virus covid-19 MTR
Photo: GovHK.

Two more buildings in the Yau Ma Tei-Jordan designated area were listed under the compulsory testing order – no. 121 Woosung Street, and no. 7 to 10 Ferry Street. The area recorded 14 more coronavirus infections among the 31 cases reported in the Yau Tsim Mong district.

Residents from three buildings in other districts were also ordered to undergo a coronavirus test, including those at Tak Yam House in Kwai Chung, block 5 of Laguna City in Kwun Tong, and block 2 of Charming Garden in Mong Kok.

Local media reported that a Nepalese man living in the designated area in Yau Ma Tei tested positive in a hospital after receiving two negative results from a community testing centre and a mobile testing station. His family was later diagnosed with Covid-19.

Medical experts said that, while the incident might be related to the patient receiving tests during the incubation period, the government should review the testing process.

Ho Pak-leung
Ho Pak-leung. File photo: RTHK screenshot.

Leading Hong Kong University microbiologist Ho Pak-leung said on Commercial Radio on Thursday morning that the man and his family took the different tests within a couple of hours and the results turned from negative to positive, showing it might not be an isolated incident.

He suggested that, to review the sample-taking process, contractors should strengthen training with people responsible for taking samples, send people to observe on the ground, and compare the positive rates of tests taken by different samplers.

Respiratory medicine specialist Leung Chi-chiu said on the same show that hospitals should instruct patients to collect lower respiratory tract samples to increase the accuracy of tests.

The Food and Health Bureau said on Friday that the government had begun follow-up action on the incidient, and that leading microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung would be taking part in the investigation.

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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.