Sha Tin Lek Yuen estate may have coronavirus super-spreader

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

A top microbiologist says there could have been a coronavirus super-spreader at Sha Tin's Lek Yuen Estate, after six people living there came down with the virus, RTHK reports.

Yuen Kwok-yung from the Hong Kong University was among those who called for Luk Chuen House not to be evacuated on Monday night, saying it was unlikely there are structural issues with the building that caused the virus to spread. But every resident living in the block has been asked to give a saliva sample for testing.

The professor said that a 34-year-old woman, the first Lek Yuen resident confirmed to have coronavirus at the weekend, had a high viral load in her body.

He said the disease may have spread in her building because she shared facilities like lifts, doors and mailboxes with others.

Yuen, who's advising the government on anti-epidemic measures, said the "biggest mistake" the authorities have made so far in dealing with the virus is not to have tested a larger number of people every day, to keep tabs on what's going on at the community level.

"There could be a lot of transmission chains in the community" but officials don't know because of insufficient testing, Yuen said. He noted that Hong Kong only tests up to 2,000 people a day, compared to some 5,000 in Macau.

He said this is despite Hong Kong having a population more than ten times bigger than Macau's.

Yuen said it's particularly important to test patients with minor symptoms when they visit private or public clinics.