130 COVID-19 cases expected in HK today, existing social distancing measures should maintain after 4th Feb

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22nd January 2022 – (Hong Kong) The COVID-19 outbreak in Kwai Chung Estate is getting out out of control. Yat Kwai House has been placed under lockdown for 5 days after 20 confirmed cases were recorded. 2,700 residents were banned from leaving their units for 5 days.

There were also 3 confirmed cases in the adjacent Ying Kwai House and the building has been placed under lockdown testing since 4am today.

Sources confirmed that at least 70 more preliminary confirmed cases were found in the 2 buildings after mass testing today. Legislative Council member Ben Chan said in the afternoon that the number of confirmed cases today may have exceeded 130, and most of the cases were from Yat Kwai House and Ying Kwai House.

David Hui, an expert advisor to the government and chair professor of the Department of Respiratory Medicine at CUHK, said that there are currently two transmission chains of Delta and Omicron mutant virus strains in Hong Kong. There is also a major outbreak in Kwai Chung Estate. It will take some time to check whether there is community spread. It is believed that social distancing measures will not be relaxed after the fourth day of the Lunar New Year.

He said that the Delta AY.127 variant virus involving the pet store Little boss was originated from Czech Republic. Two batches of hamsters were contaminated on the 22nd of last month and the 7th of this month, and the virus was also detected in the hamster cages of its warehouse in Tai Po. The timing and genetic sequencing also support the possibility of hamster-to-human transmission. He pointed out that the countries that supply hamsters overseas have not found any hamsters infected with the coronavirus, so the government did not require testing of imported hamsters in the past, but this incident shows that hamsters can also be infected.

Regarding the government’s five-day lockdown measure imposed on residents of Yat Kwai House, Hui said that it would help to find out the transmission chains of multiple generations. He also said that residents who live in Ying Kwai House should not leave the building and walk into the community. If they are asymptomatic and do not know that they have the virus, they may infect others.

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