1st March 2021 – (Hong Kong) The K11 MUSEA cluster outbreak continues to expand, with a total of 48 cases. The management began to arrange mobile sampling vehicles to provide free virus testing for tenants of shopping malls and restaurants, and announced today (1st) to extend the closure until this Friday (5th) to complete the second testing.
Government expert consultant, Professor Yuen Kwok-Yung of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, visited K11 MUSEA this afternoon and said that all COVID-19 cases may be related to Mr. Ming’s Chinese Dining. It is believed to be a short-distance airborne transmission. The fresh air transmission is only one-third of the normal, the ventilation is very poor resulting in cross-infection at different tables. The situation is very unsatisfactory. Genetic sequencing will be carried out, hoping to find out the reasons for confirmed cases in other stores within the mall.
He also mentioned that the pantry of the restaurant as filled with a large number of used tableware, etc., which may also be the source of virus transmission. The K11 MUSEA shopping mall will be reopened on Saturday and it should be generally safe by then.
Meanwhile, Chui Tak-yi, Under Secretary for Food and Health announced that the current social distancing measures will be extended for two weeks to the 17th of this month, including the mask order, the ban on gatherings, 4 persons per table in restaurants and the dine-in services till 10pm. All other listed premises including bars, karaoke and clubs are to remain closed. In addition, in response to the restaurant cluster outbreak, the government is requiring catering premises to increase the change of air flow by up to six times. Some catering industry players pointed out that small shops are under pressure and it is difficult to arrange manpower to cope with the new regulation.
The spokesperson for K11 MUSEA, said that at present, they are actively extending the closure of the mall and preparing 3 mobile vehicles to provide virus testing this Wednesday (3rd). They hope to reopen this Saturday (6th). K11 MUSEA has a total of 2,000 employees and restaurant tenants. 1,700 people were tested yesterday. 700 of them were confirmed to be free of the virus. The remaining 300 people will be tested today and will be scheduled again this Wednesday to perform the second test. All employees must have two non-infected test reports before they can return to work, mall tenants must have at least one uninfected test report. The mall encourages tenants to perform the second test, and tenants can use the mobile testing stations arranged by the shopping mall, or go to other testing centres for testing.