The Centre for Health Protection said in the early hours of Tuesday that it was evacuating some households from a block of flats in Tsing Yi after two people were diagnosed with the new coronavirus there – suggesting a community outbreak of the disease.
The two cases have been recorded in Hong Mei House in the Cheung Hong Estate. The 12th case of the virus in Hong Kong involved a resident of the building and a new case identified on Monday involves a woman who lives in a flat 10 storeys directly below.
Only people living in flats of the same number, number seven, were evacuated. The 35-storey building has flats from the second floor.
Large numbers of police were on the scene overnight on Tuesday as health officials in protective gear went to the flats in question. It wasn't immediately clear how many people would be sent for quarantine.
The controller of the centre, Wong Ka-hing, said the evacuation was a "precautionary measure for the safety of the residents" and it wasn't yet clear how the virus had spread.
"It could still be the usual droplet transmission or contact transmission, but there is the environmental factor, which is somehow unique in these two cases as they live in the same building," Wong said.
"So we cannot exclude this possibility, so for safety's sake, of the residents, we want to evacuate them first."
The latest case is the 42nd identified in the SAR, one of six new cases diagnosed on Monday. The woman's son and daughter-in-law are also showing symptoms and have been placed in isolation. Her husband and grandson, who have no symptoms, will be quarantined.
Engineers from the Housing Department will investigate the sewage system from Tuesday.
Last updated: 2020-11-02 HKT 02:48