25th February 2020 – (Hong Kong) According to the Centre for Health Protection today, at least 153 Hongkongers have been to the Buddhist temple in North Point and 22 have been quarantined. Several people have also been infected with COVID-19. Officials from CHP obtained samples from the temple two days ago and found that the faucet handles in the bathroom, kneeling pads, and scriptures were tested positive for COVID-19. CHP officials will obtain samples again in a week’s time to ascertain if they are still positive.
Some infectious disease experts have reminded the general public that the faucet handle may pass the virus to the user when they turn off the water after washing. It is recommended that toilet paper or tissue paper be used to contact the faucet handle to avoid skin contact. Dr. Joseph Tsang, Specialist in Infectious Disease said that any virus will be transmitted through droplets, objects and faeces, so the handle of the faucet is no exception, and the public is more likely to ignore the potential risk of the virus transmitted by the handle. He believes that if the handle of the faucet can be cleaned regularly, it is more ideal, but it is more difficult to expect this measure in public toilets. The best solution will be to use toilets with automatic faucets or use toilet paper or tissue paper to touch the faucet handle.
if kneeling pads and scriptures in the Buddhist temple were tested positive with COVID-19, similarly gym equipment, cutlery, chopsticks, chili sauce and other sauces in local eateries may also be potential vectors to transmit the virus. Ten people were infected with the novel coronavirus after going to the same gym in Anhui province, Shanghai in January (Read here). It is impossible to expect cleaners to disinfect all the gym equipment after each usage and it is also very likely that most local eateries do not clean their chopsticks stored in containers or cutlery stored in cabinets.