21st January 2022 – (Hong Kong) At least 16 people were infected with COVID-19 at Yat Kwai House, Kwai Chung Estate including a morning shift security guard. The infected cases involving residents who live on 11 different floors and 12 different units.
Yuen Kwok-yung, a professor of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong who is also a government expert consultant, inspected the building last night (20th). After analysing the environmental factors at scene and the latest epidemiological information, experts agreed that no building structure, air flow and pipe issues are involved in the transmission of virus.
Further epidemiological information revealed that an earlier Case No. 13064 (husband of the Pakistani woman from Tung Moon House) went to Yat Kwai House, Chin Kwai House and Luk Kwai House of Kwai Chung Estate on 13th January, and stayed in the garbage room of the buildings concerned. Experts preliminarily opined that Case No 13064 spread the virus to relevant workers or residents of that building during his stay at Yat Kwai House.
Experts believed that no building structure problems leading to current virus transmission and there is no need to evacuate all residents for compulsory quarantine at this stage. The CHP decided to carry out prudent measures on infection control. The Government will make a “restriction-testing declaration” at Yat Kwai House and arrange all residents to carry out daily compulsory testing starting from today to 23rd January. Arrangements have been made for persons subject to compulsory testing to undergo a nucleic acid test at specimen collection stations where dedicated staff will collect samples through combined nasal and throat swabs. Residents would also need to complete the remaining three tests after 23rd January in accordance with the compulsory testing notice.
However, David Hui, another government expert consultant and chair professor of the Department of Respiratory System at CUHK, said on a radio program this morning (21st) that the relevant testing efforts were insufficient, and all residents of Yat Kwai House should be prohibited from entering and leaving the building for 3 days, and the government should send supplies on their behalf to ensure that only when their test results are negative after a period of time before they can go out to the community. Hui said that it is believed that the common areas of Yat Kwai House, such as the lobby and the garbage rooms, are likely to be polluted extensively. It is best for the residents of the building to be confined for 3 days, but it is estimated that the government does not have enough manpower to deal with the lockdown, and the quarantine centre does not have enough space for all the residents exceeding 1,400 in total. He appealed to the residents not to go out to work for the time being as much as possible.
Meanwhile, he also believes that government departments can take the lead and let civil servants in charge of non-emergency services work from home, and he believes that private enterprises should follow suit.
The 2 boys of the Pakistani woman and the kindergarten teacher had a brief encounter for about 9 seconds in the tunnel at Exit A of Mei Foo MTR Station last Friday (14th), and she was suspected of being infected with Stealth Omicron as a result. David Hui said that the virus genes of the two parties are 100% similar. Exit A of the Mei Foo MTR station is the only known contact opportunity at present, and it is certain that the virus would spread within 9 seconds. He pointed out that although the two were wearing masks, droplets with a fineness of 5 microns could pass through the masks, and there were gaps on both sides of the masks. The droplets could also contaminate the surface of the masks or be transmitted directly through the eyes. It is estimated that short-range airborne transmission will occur. Citizens should wear 2 layers of masks and protective glasses when going into crowded places.