Hong Kong on Sunday recorded 108 new cases of Covid-19, the highest number of single-day infections since the outbreak began earlier this year.
Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said the local medical system could collapse if the situation fails to improve.
Eighty-three of the latest patients are believed to have acquired the virus locally. That's also a record daily total for Hong Kong.
While health officials were able to track the source of infection for 35 of them, 48 were unknown.
Chuang said three taxi drivers and an employee of a frozen meat shop in a market in Hung Hom were among those whose source of infection remained a mystery.
Other cases that they are able to track are linked to previously confirmed patients relating to clusters of people playing mahjong or table tennis together, or a party in an eatery in Mong Kok.
Chuang added the new patients live in different districts in Hong Kong, from the epicentre Tsz Wan Shan to Siu Sai Wan and Yuen Long.
She also urged people who go to wet markets to wash their hands regularly, especially after they touch things or pay with cash, because the virus may be able to stay in the environment.
“Paper money is something that you cannot cleanse with alcohol. So after touching it, try not to touch your eyes or noses or mouth, and wash your hands quickly,” she said.
She also said that the virus was “stronger”, or more infectious, than they'd noticed in March. That’s because she saw some cases in which the virus seems to be able to infect others during short contacts, or just a few minutes, involving someone who didn't have a mask on.
Chuang also said the latest toll, as of midnight Sunday, is bound to go up sharply again, because she's also aware of about 60 confirmed or preliminary cases since.
The Hospital Authority said 19 Covid-19 patients were in critical condition, with 14 people in intensive care wards.
There were also 25 imported cases on Sunday, involving people who came from countries such as Japan, the United States and the Philippines.
Daily Hong Kong Covid-19 tally hits record 108
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