The overnight lockdown imposed on Hing Ping House at Tuen Mun’s Tai Hing Estate has been extended by at least 24-hours after 26 residents in 14 different units tested positive or preliminary positive for Covid-19.

In a public statement released on Friday afternoon, a government spokesman said the current situation was “worrying” at the concerned building where the more infection Omicron variant was detected. Owing to the estate’s “extremely high risk of infection, it is necessary for us to adopt decisive actions,” they said.

Tai Hing Estate. File photo: 姒姓賢寧, via Wikicommons.

One imported case and 130 new local cases were confirmed on Friday – 45 per cent of which were of untraceable origins. 195 new preliminary positive cases were also recorded.

Since the fifth wave began, 220 untraceable cases have been detected in all.

Residents at Hing Ping House will now be required to undergo another round of tests on Friday. The authorities hope to complete the exercise by 8:30 a.m. on Saturday.

According to the press release, residents will only be allowed to leave after test results are “largely confirmed,” if there is approval from the Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan after considering the “overall situation and public interest.”

The government carried out cleaning and disinfection work in Tuen Mun District. File photo: GovHK.

The Centre for Health Protection said on Wednesday night that vertical transmission was suspected to have occurred in the building, as the six cases were detected in three flats with the same unit number across three different floors. It means the virus may have been carried through plumbing.

All residents living in units 20 and 21 from the 1st floor to the 29th floor have been evacuated and will later be sent to quarantine.

Not allowed to leave

Am730 reported that authorities had started to distribute meals to residents at around 2 p.m on Friday, since residents will be undergoing a lockdown of at least two days.

Tai Hing Estate. File photo: Exploringlife, via Wikicommons.

Previously, the government had imposed similar lockdown measures on three buildings for between five to seven days at Kwai Chung Estate, where a total of around 400 Omicron cases were detected.

During lockdown, residents at the three buildings were faced with financial stress including job losses and income freezes, as well as hygiene concerns such as accumulating trash in public areas and overcrowding due to a lack of batch arrangement for Covid-19 tests. The government has urged employers to show understanding, though has not offered compensation or financial subsidies.

As of Thursday, the city has reported 14,715 Covid-19 cases and 213 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

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Peter Lee

Peter Lee is a reporter for HKFP. He was previously a freelance journalist at Initium, covering political and court news. He holds a Global Communication bachelor degree from CUHK.