Some residents of a public housing block in Sha Tin where several people have come down with Covid-19 were being evacuated from their homes on Thursday, days after officials realised there was a cluster of cases there.
On Wednesday, the authorities had urged people not to flee their flats in Luk Chuen House at Lek Yuen Estate, despite six confirmed cases among residents of the block.
A seventh resident, an elderly man, has also now tested positive for the virus, although his infection is not yet confirmed.
Earlier this week, health experts said there was no need for the housing block to be evacuated, and it was unlikely that any structural issues with the building was allowing the virus to spread.
But officials now fear the sewerage system could be responsible for the growing outbreak.
Dozens of people living in flats ending in the numbers 10 and 12 are now being taken into quarantine centres.
But at a health briefing, officials said they hadn't been able to locate six families from the block, in order to give them tests for the coronavirus.
Some residents had ignored the authorities' advice not to leave their homes and were seen packing their bags and moving out this week.
The first case in the cluster was a 34-year-old woman whose infection was first reported on Saturday and confirmed on Sunday.
Since then, her husband and four other residents have been diagnosed with the virus, along with two of the woman's colleagues and a paramedic who had treated her.
In February, some units in Hong Mei House at Tsing Yi's Cheung Hong Estate were also evacuated after experts said they suspected the virus was spreading from flat to flat via air vents.
On Thursday, the authorities also announced five Covid-19 infections involving people who recently returned to the SAR from Bangladesh.
The new confirmed cases brought Hong Kong's total to date to 1,098. There have been four fatalities.
Govt arranges partial evacuation of Covid-hit block
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