Mall shut down as cluster grows to 44

Top News | Jane Cheung 1 Mar 2021

The Covid-19 cluster at K11 Musea continues to grow, with 10 more cases linked to Mr Ming's Chinese Dining in the Tsim Sha Tsui mall taking the cluster tally to 44.

Around 1,500 staff and tenants from the mall underwent compulsory tests yesterday, with the entire complex closed yesterday and today.

The 10 patients linked to the diner were among 22 cases Hong Kong reported yesterday - five imported and 17 local, including four from unknown sources.

The K11 restaurant cluster rose to 44, with more people infected despite not having stepped foot in the diner.

They included a 33-year-old saleswoman at the Cartier shop on the ground floor of K11 Musea and a 53-year-old Construction Industry Council female staff who had been to Lilium on the fifth floor on February 19 and 21 and then attended four seminars in the council's centers in Southern, Kwai Tsing, Kowloon Bay and North districts on February 22 to 23.

Another unknown source case is a 20-year-old part-time salesman at Sports Gallery in Mong Kok. He lives with his mother and girlfriend in Chi Tat House On Tat Estate.

His mother - a ward assistant at Tseung Kwan O Hospital - and his elder brother living in Sau Mau Ping Estate had been to Chi Tat House for meals and also tested preliminary positive.

His girlfriend - a part-time staffer at Twinkie Cookies on the ground floor of K11 Musea - is symptomatic and has been sent to hospital for tests.

Centre for Health Protection's principal medical and health officer Albert Au Ka-wing said there was no epidemiological link between the diner and other shops in the mall.

"But of course we can't rule out cases from the restaurant could have contaminated common facilities and caused transmission inside the mall . . . We need to observe if more cases arise in other parts of the mall," he said.

The 10 fresh cases at Mr Ming's yesterday were one employee, two diners on February 19 and seven close contacts.

Au said one of the close contacts is a nurse at Wong Chung Yan clinic in Tai Kok Tsui, who was visited by three infected customers of the diner last Monday and Tuesday.

"We believe her infection was caused by the three patients [from Mr Ming's] attending the clinic," Au said.

All six staff of the clinic have been quarantined but Au appealed to people who went to the clinic between 4pm and 6pm on February 22 and 24 to contact the center at 2125-1111 or 2125-1122.

He said he expects the cluster to grow with almost 100 close contacts, who may still be incubating the virus, being quarantined.

Authorities are still tracking more than 10 customers who had lunch at Mr Ming's on February 19 when a sick staff member - believed to be the super spreader - worked during the infectious period.

"We have already traced 60 [who had lunch] on that day, among whom one-third were diagnosed with the infection," he said.

He said users of the LeaveHomeSafe contact tracing app can show their infection risk notifications at community centers and receive a free test.

Au said the app has successfully traced 70 to 80 cases since authorities made it a compulsory requirement to enter restaurants, with an alternative to leave their contact information on printed and online forms.

But he admitted only customers will be notified in case of an infection near them, while authorities do not know their identities.

Hong Kong's tally as of yesterday was 11,006 including 199 deaths. A dozen preliminary positive cases including at least six from unknown sources are pending confirmation.

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