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Two more temple-goers among latest virus patients

2020-02-23 HKT 17:11
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  • Two more temple-goers among latest virus patients
The Centre for Health Protection said on Sunday that five more Hong Kong people had been diagnosed with the Covid-19 coronavirus, and they've been allowed to enter a temple in North Point that's now been linked to four cases.

The latest cases take the total to 74, and also include a passenger from the Diamond Princess cruise ship which has seen more than 600 virus cases.

Two of the new victims have links to to the Fook Wai Ching She temple. They're women aged 80 and 76, the latter of whom lives in the Maylun Apartments building on Shu Kuk Street, the building in which the temple is located.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the centre said people living in the building had no reason to be alarmed as the cases were more likely to be "just like a home outbreak or an outbreak involving a lot of close contacts".

"We would like to go inside the temple and check do some environmental sampling," she said. "Hopefully we can find the master of the temple so we can find out more about the whole situation. So I don't think the residents, other than those who attend the temple, are at higher risk."

Officials said they'd obtained a warrant to enter the building, but soon after confirmed that they'd made contact with the temple master, who opened the doors for them.

It emerged on Saturday that a a 96-year-old woman patient had been to the Fook Wai Ching She temple multiple times during Lunar New Year holiday at the end of last month.

The woman, who is in a stable condition in hospital, told officials that she hadn't been anywhere else recently apart from the temple.

Her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter who live with her in Tin Hau had not shown any symptoms, but were nevertheless being put into quarantine.

On Wednesday, a 70-year-old woman who had visited the temple during the holiday was confirmed to have Covid-19.

The centre said on Sunday that a 68-year-old man who'd been evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship was among the three other people diagnosed.

Dr Chuang said infection control measures were in place on the flight from Japan, so people who sat nearby wouldn't be considered close contacts. But she said more cases were possible among the more than 300 Hong Kong people who were aboard the ship.

"That's why we had to quarantine those passengers disembarking from the Diamond Princess cruise, because we are expecting there may be some cases coming from that group," she said.

"I cannot exclude that more cases may be detected. I don't know yet."

The others were a 62-year-old security guard who lives and works in a Lam Tin public housing estate and a 75-year-old man whose wife, daughter and son-in-law had earlier been infected.

Health authorities said earlier the security guard shared a meal with 17 colleagues in a restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui earlier this month. But officials later clarified that the dinner was held in January, a month before he fell sick, so there was no need to follow up on his colleagues.
Last updated: 2020-02-23 HKT 22:23