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HK logs 24 new virus case, K11 restaurant cluster expands

A woman wearing a face mask sits in the bleachers of a football pitch in Hong Kong, Feb 24, 2021. (VINCENT YU/AP)

HONG KONG – Hong Kong saw 24 new COVID-19 infections on Friday, the largest one-day increase over the past two weeks, as a cluster originated from a restaurant more than doubled in size.

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Eighteen of the fresh cases were locally transmitted, two-thirds of which belonged to the cluster originated from Mr Ming’s Chinese Dining at K11 Musea in Tsim Sha Tsui, Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said at a briefing.

Eighteen of the fresh cases were locally transmitted, two-thirds of which belonged to the cluster originated from Mr Ming’s Chinese Dining at K11 Musea in Tsim Sha Tsui

The 12 were five workers, five diners and two close contacts, Chuang said. The number of patients involved in the cluster has risen to 19, involving 11 diners, five workers and three close contacts.

Chuang said the origin could be a restaurant worker who developed a cough on Feb 18 and went to work the next day. The worker was mainly in charge of clearing tables and has been in critical condition. Most of the infected diners ate there on Friday.

“Diners sat pretty close to each other and a ‘super spreading’ event may have taken place,” Chuang said.

“Looking into the new cases, we could see that more people attended dinner gatherings around the Lunar New Year holidays, which has heightened transmission risks,” Chuang said.

In addition, 11 of the more than 20 people who tested preliminarily positive on Friday were linked to the cluster, Chuang said. 

Friday’s sole untraceable case involved a 59-year-old man who lived in Lok Man House, Lok Fu Estate in Wong Tai Sin and worked at Wah Yuen Factory Building in Tai Kok Tsui, Chuang said.

However, at least seven cases among the preliminary positive cases were untraceable, according to Chuang. They included a 45-year-old teacher at Ma Kam Ming Charitable Foundation (MKMCF) Ma Ko Pan Memorial School in Tuen Mun. He last went to the school on Feb 8. 

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A 16-year-old student who had not visited the campus this year but gathered with around 10 friends in a stadium during the incubation period, and a 22-year-old woman who worked at St. Hilary’s Kindergarten in Hung Hom, were among the seven preliminarily tested positive.

Among the six imported cases reported on Friday, two were from Pakistan and one each from the United States, India, the Philippines and Ukraine, Chuang said.

The city’s total of confirmed cases rose to 10,950, with 198 related fatalities.

Reference