Pubs remain worry in spread of virus

Local | Jane Cheung 30 Mar 2020

Pubs have again become a major concern in the spread of the coronavrius, with a story of four people who went bar hopping and contracting Covid-19 cited yesterday.

The case was highlighted as the SAR recorded 59 new cases involving 30 males and

29 females aged from 11 to 77 to make for more than 550.

Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the communicable disease unit at the Centre for Health Protection, said 40 of them had travel history, arriving mostly from the United States, Britain and elsewhere in Europe.

Eighteen are students studying abroad. Among 19 patients without a travel history, the “bar and band cluster” involving Lan Kwai Fong’s Insomnia, Knutsford Terrace’s All Night Long and Wan Chai’s Centre Stage and Dusk Till Dawn had an additional seven cases. Three of them were customers, one a waitress from Insomnia and two from Dusk Till Dawn, plus a female band member.

More than 30 of 124 staffers at the four bars managed by the same company have been infected.

Chuang said six other people had unknown sources of infection, but four had been to pubs in Soho, Tsim Sha Tsui, Sai Ying Pun and Causeway Bay.

“We’ve seen some cases without a clear source of infection, indicating a community outbreak, which is worrying,” Chuang added, with the next two weeks being key to curbing the pandemic.

And a 31-year-old policeman from the Kowloon West Regional Police Headquarters in Ho Man Tin became the third infected cop. He is now in Caritas Medical Centre at Cheung Sha Wan.

He had a fever and signs of pneumonia, but he claimed not to have had contact with a 22-year-old female officer from Sham Shui Po who was diagnosed with Covid-19 last week.

And a staffer from the government’s Information Services Department who had been to New Zealand and Britain on holiday from March 7 to 18 has been listed as a likely case. But the civil servant has been working from home.

Hospital Authority executive Sara Ho Yuen-ha said six more people were discharged from hospitals yesterday, making a total of 118 recoveries.

Among 430 patients remaining in 14 hospitals, four are in critical condition. And there have been four deaths.

Ho also admitted some people at home and under quarantine after testing positive for the virus are having to wait for about a day before they can be admitted as there is intense demand for beds in isolation wards.

Despite 400 additional beds in secondtier isolation wards – converted from regular wards after installing negative-pressure facilities – being ready this week, Ho said the extra capacity may not be enough because of the rise in confirmed cases.

Doctors are now studying whether to move patients who have mostly recovered but yet to be discharged to second-tier wards to release the first-line beds for more urgent cases.

jane.cheung@singtaonewscorp.com

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