Urgent trace for K11 diners begins

Health authorities are urgently searching for customers who ate at Mr Ming's Chinese Dining at K11 Musea last Friday, as the Covid-19 cluster at the Tsim Sha Tsui eatery grew to 11, including seven customers from the fateful lunch. The Centre for Health Protection announced 13 new cases...

Jane Cheung

Friday, February 26, 2021

Health authorities are urgently searching for customers who ate at Mr Ming's Chinese Dining at K11 Musea last Friday, as the Covid-19 cluster at the Tsim Sha Tsui eatery grew to 11, including seven customers from the fateful lunch.

The Centre for Health Protection announced 13 new cases yesterday - one imported and 12 local infections including three from unknown sources.

Five of them went for lunch at Mr Ming's in three separate groups on Friday. Two more customers who were there at the same time and three staffers tested preliminary positive.

A spokesman from the center said: "Some of the customers do not know each other. It is believed that the restaurant may have been where transmissions occurred."

He appealed to those who dined at the restaurant from 12pm to 3pm last Friday to call the center's hotlines at 2125 1111 or 2125 1122 for epidemiological investigations.

The cluster came to light when the first patient - a diner who visited last Thursday - was diagnosed on Wednesday, prompting authorities to order all staffers and visitors between February 18 and February 24 to undergo mandatory tests by today.

Speaking on a radio program yesterday, University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung said the outbreak at the diner is a test for the government's contact tracing mobile application LeaveHomeSafe, which notifies users if they have been to the same place at the same time with a confirmed case.

Since using the app or leaving contact information has become compulsory for entering restaurants and premise, Ho reminded authorities should also contact those who chose to leave their information instead of using the app.

"They should complete tracing of the cases' family, close contacts and second close contacts," he said.

"If not, [they] may become the source of a new wave of community outbreaks, just like what happened in the third wave."

"If the app can be put into good use, it'll be more effective than lockdowns. It can also attract more people to download the app, but it will affect citizens' confidence if it can't do what it says," he said.

Meanwhile, the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre next to AsiaWorld-Expo will open today, offering 48 isolation beds in the initial stage to cater to stable Covid-19 patients aged between 16 and 65.

Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, Liaison Office deputy director Qiu Hong and Hospital Authority chairman Henry Fan Hung-ling yesterday officiated at the center's service commencement ceremony.

The temporary hospital, whose construction was supported by the central government, consists of six two-story ward buildings with 816 isolation beds.

The center's laboratory is equipped with fully automated machines that can handle up to 1,500 specimens per day - increasing the public hospital's overall testing capacity by 15 percent.

jane.cheung@singtaonewscorp.com