'Gym cluster could lead to fifth wave of infections' - RTHK
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'Gym cluster could lead to fifth wave of infections'

2021-03-12 HKT 11:33
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  • 'Gym cluster could lead to fifth wave of infections'
Timmy Sung reports
A government adviser on the pandemic, David Hui, on Friday described an outbreak linked to a Sai Ying Pun gym as a "symptom" of a fifth wave of Covid-19.

Around 50 people connected to Ursus Fitness – staff, customers and their close contacts – have so far tested positive or preliminary positive for the virus, and more than 240 others have been sent to quarantine centres.

"We can say this is a super-spreading event," the Chinese University professor told an RTHK programme.

"We need to find out if the ventilation is good at the fitness centre, if it had limited group classes to four people, if the facilities and changing rooms were cleaned. So there are many factors. For a large-scale outbreak like this, there must be some big problems," he added.

Hui said the growing cluster is almost like a repeat of the outbreak at dancing and singing studios which triggered Hong Kong's fourth wave of coronavirus cases, when hundreds of people were infected.

It remains to be seen whether there will be a wider community outbreak in the next two weeks, and it is therefore too early to say if all fitness centres in the city should be closed, Hui said.

Overnight, the government tightened measures for gyms, requiring everyone to wear a mask, except when showering or eating.

At the same time, four branches of Pure Fitness and Yoga in Central, Wan Chai and Quarry Bay have been shut temporarily, because two people who tested positive for Covid had recently visited the facilities.

Hui also said a general lack of understanding of rates of heart disease and stroke in the SAR is to blame for a drop in the number of people getting vaccinated against coronavirus.

He said people with chronic diseases can be vaccinated, as long as their conditions are under control.