Environmental settings key to spread of Covid: CUHK - RTHK
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Environmental settings key to spread of Covid: CUHK

2020-11-18 HKT 14:35
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  • Environmental settings key to spread of Covid: CUHK
A study published by Chinese University's Faculty of Medicine has found that environmental settings are a more important factor when it comes to the spreading of Covid-19 than how infectious a carrier of the virus is.

Researchers say they looked at cases reported in Hong Kong between January and June in 12 types of places, including bars, offices and restaurants.

They found that the widest spread of coronavirus happened in entertainment venues, with this backed up by data showing the SAR's longest transmission chain during the first half of the year primarily involved bars, with the chain of infections extending into 30 other clusters in 26 days.

Professor Lee Shui-shan, deputy director of the university’s Stanley Ho Centre for Emerging Infectious Diseases, said the reason for such a wide spread of the virus is because bars are often full of people who are strangers to each other which means infections are easily able to move on to secondary settings and cause new clusters.

He said data shows that the social distancing measures introduced by the government regarding entertainment venues and restaurants were effective in terms of controlling the spread of virus because the number of related clusters dropped from seven in the first two waves of the virus, to two in the third wave.

The professor also noted that the nature of some environmental settings has changed, for example some hotels have shifted from residential usage to venues for social activities or "staycations", and he warned this would enable the virus to spread easier.

“In the past half a year, we see that people treat hotels as a venue for social activities rather than simply a place to stay,” said Lee, adding that the researchers would have to take this into account for further studies.