A Hong Kong University microbiologist Ho Pak-leung said on Monday that the government should consider making it mandatory for people to wear face masks in public.
Speaking on an RTHK radio programme, Ho said scientific evidence shows that wearing face masks is effective in blocking droplets and viruses to an extent, and said a case concerning a 93-year-old patient contracting Covid-19 at Pok Oi Hospital was concerning.
Ho said that at the moment, the city's public hospitals are very crowded, and it was possible that the Pok Oi case – and ones involving a cluster of infections among police officers – may be related to people not wearing face masks at hospitals or in the office.
He also called on the government to take tougher action to tackle invisible transmissions in the community, saying this should involve more stringent enforcement of restrictions against gatherings of more than four people in public, or completely shutting down restaurants or allowing them to serve takeaway meals only.
Ho said that the sooner the chain of community transmission is cut off, the sooner businesses will be able to resume normal activities, warning that unless this is done, businesses will have to close for even longer.
The chief executive of Pok Oi Hospital, Chong Yee-hung, said on an RTHK programme on Monday that so far no one else who had been in the hospital has tested positive for the virus, including 72 patients who shared the same ward as the elderly man, 11 patients who were recently discharged from the ward, and the man's family members.
Chong also confirmed that so far 171 frontline medical workers have also tested negative, and that officials are waiting for the results of three others.
Make it mandatory to wear face masks: Ho Pak-leung
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