The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Hong Kong has dropped to single digits for two days in a row. Meanwhile, a man with chronic illnesses died on Friday, three days after receiving the BioNTech vaccine – the first such case in the city.
Health authorities recorded eight Covid-19 cases on Saturday and another eight on Sunday. Among Sunday’s cases were four local transmissions, one of which was connected to the Ursus Gym cluster in Sai Ying Pun.
The cluster had spread to at least 141 individuals as of Sunday, and led to several neighbourhood lockdowns in Mid-Levels and Western districts in recent weeks. Over 1,500 close contacts were placed in quarantine camps in an effort to halt the spread of infection, according to a Sunday blog post by Chief Secretary Matthew Cheung.
A 26-year-old man was diagnosed with the virus on Sunday after testing positive while in police custody – his infection had unknown origins. He was arrested Friday alongside 16 others on suspicion of illegal assembly in the Kwun Tong area, Centre for Heath Protection’s (CHP) Head of Communicable Diseases Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan said during a routine press briefing on Sunday.
The man tested positive after he reported feeling ill – but he was not cooperative in providing his address and information about his close contacts after being hospitalised, Chuang said. The government has placed the 16 other individuals who were arrested at the same time in quarantine, in addition to 15 police officers who handled their case.
Tseung Kwan-O lockdown
In yet another neighbourhood lockdown, the authorities cordoned off Block 9 of La Splendeur in Tseung Kwan-O’s Lohas Park from Friday night until around 11am on Saturday to conduct compulsory Covid-19 tests among 1,235 residents in the building, Apple Daily reported.
The campaign identified no confirmed cases but found 13 individuals who did not comply with an earlier mandatory test order. They were subsequently fined HK$5,000 each.
Hongkongers may start receiving the second dose of the Sinovac vaccine as soon as this Friday, the government Covid-19 advisory panel convener Dr. Ivan Hung said during a television interview on Sunday, according to StandNews.
Side effects experienced from the second jab might be more intense than the first, Hung said, as he recommended that recipients take time off from work to recover. Those who experienced severe side effects from the first dose, such as facial drooping or arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat, should not receive the second dose, he said.
The city has also recorded its first death following a BioNTech jab on Friday. A 66-year-old man was vaccinated three days prior to his death. He had chronic illnesses as well as high blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol, Ming Pao reported. A government expert panel that assesses clinical events related to Covid-19 immunisations will convene on Wednesday to study the matter.
The incident comes in the wake of seven people dying within days of receiving the Sinovac jab since the end of February. However the Department of Health ruled out any direct, causal link between the deaths and the vaccine as the majority of the patients had cardiovascular diseases.
Around 300,000 individuals have now been vaccinated in Hong Kong – 210,000 of whom opted for the mainland-produced Sinovac, while 90,000 people went for BioNTech made in Germany, Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan said during a radio interview on Saturday.
The government was also considering whether hospital or care home visits could be made available to vaccinated individuals, Chan said.
Separately, a viral video emerged on Saturday showing a man collapsed on the ground and appeared to have experienced seizure at a community vaccination centre.
A government spokesperson confirmed in a statement on Sunday that he was a 35-year-old who experienced seizures after receiving the BioNTech vaccine last Wednesday at the Yuen Long Sports Centre.
The man was sent to a hospital the same morning, and left against doctors’ advice the same day after his condition stabilised, the spokesperson said. The case was reported in a government statement the next day.
Hong Kong recorded 11,380 Covid-19 cases and 203 deaths as of Sunday.