The Hong Kong government has replaced its catering service at the Penny’s Bay and Lei Yue Mun Covid quarantine camps following reports of mass food poisoning symptoms among residents and after images of its meal boxes were circulated on the internet along with derogatory comment.
Members from over 30 households — or about 70 people — amongst residents of Allway Gardens in Tsuen Wan who were quarantined at Penny’s Bay suffered diarrhoea, the area’s District Councillor Chiu Yan-loy told HKFP.
Some residents at Penny’s Bay sought phone consultations with a doctor stationed at the camp and some were given medicine after about 12 hours, Chiu said.
The original caterer for the two quarantine camps, Danny Catering Services Limited, has been replaced by Delicious Chef King Catering Limited, a spokesperson from the Department of Health said in a statement on Sunday.
Images of the meal boxes supplied by Danny Catering made the rounds on the internet over the weekend. Following reports of food poisoning, quarantine residents were given cup noodles “because of the food hygiene problem,” a note attached from the quarantine facility read.
Around 20 schoolchildren experienced diarrhoea after eating lunch boxes supplied by Danny Catering Service in 2019, according to an Apple Daily report at the time. The company is one of Hong Kong’s four main school caterers, and supplied over 30,000 lunch boxes to about 100 schools in the city at the time.
Danny Catering Service does not cater for other quarantine facilities, the health department spokesperson said. The department did not respond to questions on whether the company went through a tendering process to become a quarantine camp service provider, but said its procurement followed existing rules.
It will also continue to monitor outside providers and follow up all complaints, the spokesperson said.
HKFP has reached out to Danny Catering for comment.
Most quarantined residents from Allway Gardens, Caribbean Coast in Tung Chung and Kornhill in Quarry Bay were sent home over the weekend, following a government policy u-turn last Friday, which now allows those who tested negative for the virus to be released from quarantine.
A handful of residents had not been allowed to leave as of Monday evening. Five residents of Allway Gardens remained at the facility even though they tested negative for the coronavirus, Chiu said. They have not been told why they are still kept there. Around 20 residents from Caribbean Coast and Kornhill were in a similar situation, RTHK reported.
Meanwhile, Hong Kong recorded four imported cases on Monday with no local transmissions. The four were all domestic workers, three of whom travelled from Indonesia and one from India. Hong Kong has recorded 11,812 Covid-19 cases and 210 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.