Quarantined residents in Tsing Yi return home

Local | 15 Feb 2020 1:50 pm

More than 100 quarantined residents living in the same units on all floors of Hong Mei House in Tsing Yi, where two people were diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus, are allowed to return home after testing negative for the coronavirus.

Residents of the block in Cheung Ching esate, where four people from two households were confirmed with the virus, were sent home on Saturday afternoon through a bus arranged by the government.

Inspectors in protective gear and masks disinfected the gates at the lobby of Hong Mei House, while officers from the Kwai Hing Government Offices wearing masks and disposable gloves distributed medical supplies such as masks to residents disembarking.

Almost 200 residents from 34 units in the building were moved out and sent to quarantine camps in the early hours of Tuesday, after a 62-year-old woman living in the unit A307 was diagnosed with the virus on Monday night. Her son and daughter-in-law, who she lived with, were also found to be infected with the illness.

The woman was confirmed with the virus 11 days after a 75-year-old man living 10 stories directly above in the unit A1307 was confirmed with the virus on January 30. This sparked concerns from experts that the virus might have spread through pipes connecting the units and evacuated the residents overnight.

Health authorities said 101 samples from residents tested negative for the virus.

The authorities have checked the bathrooms in the A07 unit and altered exhaust toilet bowl vents have been fixed. Modification of toilet pipes had been suspected as the culprit of transmission between flats.

A spokesperson of the Housing Department said on Friday night the vent pipes were reconnected or sealed after the confirmed cases. He warned public tenants against unauthorized alteration of toilet piping, saying doing so might break the rules in the tenancy agreement and Buildings Ordinance.

As of Saturday morning, there were 56 confirmed cases of the virus in Hong Kong, with one death case and another discharged from hospital.

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