Restaurants are required to have designated bussers from Thursday onwards following an outbreak at a diner. Hong Kong recorded nine coronavirus infections on Thursday, six of which were locally transmitted and one of them had unknown origins.

The government updated its anti-epidemic regulations on Tuesday, stating that restaurants will be required to have designated staffers that are only responsible for cleaning-up duties from this Thursday.

Mr. Li's restaurant
File photo: Candice Chau/HKFP.

The new rules came after an outbreak at the Mr. Ming’s Chinese Dining in Tsim Sha Tsui’s K11 Musea mall led to at least 49 cases. Leading microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung said that there may have been possible cross-contamination of cutlery and dishes at the restaurant.

The city also saw one more death on Thursday, bringing the total toll to 201.

Vaccine effects

Following the death of a man two days after receiving a dose of China’s Sinovac vaccine, Secretary for the Civil Service Patrick Nip, who is responsible for the vaccination programme, said on a RTHK radio show that he has had “mental preparation” that some individuals may suffer from severe reactions or even die after vaccination.

“On the reporting system of the Hospital Authority, I believe that we will improve in the future,” said Nip on Thursday, adding that the authorities will ensure information is given in a timely and transparent manner.

Patrick Nip
Patrick Nip. File photo: RTHK screenshot.

Critics slammed the Hospital Authority for withholding information from the public as the man’s death was widely reported by local media before the authority informed citizens of the incident.

Compulsory quarantine

Meanwhile, around 70 staffers from Heng An Standard Life were put in compulsory quarantine over the weekend after a senior manager was diagnosed with Covid-19.

An employee of the company told HKFP that around 70 employees – almost all workers from the company – were sent to quarantine camps after taking part in a closed-door meeting on last Tuesday.

The staffer claimed that the CEO of the company and a senior manager, who was said to have tested positive for the coronavirus later, took off their masks in the meeting while giving presentations. However, the company insisted all staff wore masks.

“I think it’s not fair to have to go into quarantine after I have tested negative,” said the employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of fear for their job. “But I understand that this is the government’s rules.”

“I didn’t get much support on what to expect at quarantine, and it’s difficult to still work as expected by the company,” said the employee. “The CEO and senior manager have put the staffers and their families at risk.”

yau ma tei jordan covid lockdown PPE virus test
Photo: Ben MacLeod/HKFP.

A spokesperson from the company told HKFP that all employees tested negative for Covid-19, and confirmed that around 70 people were sent to compulsory quarantine.

“We are also providing immediate support to our staff as well as their families, such as subsidies, supplies of specimen bottles and hotline for emotional support, etc,” the spokesperson said.

He added that the company will continue to adhere to the government’s instructions “to combat the spread of the virus and safeguard the wellbeing of our people.”

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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.