Local expert thinks warning issued by HKUMed on potential large-scale outbreak in Kennedy Town yesterday is debatable


13th May 2022 – (Hong Kong) The Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong (HKUMed) took the lead in warning teachers and students yesterday (12th) that a large-scale cluster infection may break out in Kennedy Town or nearby areas, and urged not to dine in the area and they are reminded not to carry out activities that require the removal of masks this week.

Some criticised the practice of HKUMed after it caused unnecessary panic in the area.

HKUMed  responded this morning (13th) that the appeal was based on the latest new COVID-19 sewage test results in the district, which showed that the virus load was more than 100 to 1,000 times higher than the recent average, and the emergency notification was made only after obtaining the government’s consent. The hospital deeply regrets over the criticism, but emphasised that it is a responsible approach. Yuen Kwok-yung, a government expert consultant and chair professor of the Department of Microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, pointed out that the hospital only reminded teachers and students to be careful, but agreed that the practice is debatable.

In the past 5 days, a total of 5 residents of West Terrace in Sai Wan Estate have been infected. The 4 families involved are located on different floors. In addition, the amount of the new COVID-19 virus detected in the sewage system of the estate is very high. Therefore, it is worried that a cluster outbreak may occur in the entire estate.

In addition, residents of more than 10 housing estates and university dormitories in the same district will also be issued rapid antigen test kits. Yuen said this morning that although there is an epidemic in Kennedy Town, it is estimated that 91% to 95% of Hong Kong residents have antibodies because they have been infected with the COVID-19 virus or have been vaccinated. A herd immunity has been built to prevent severe illness. Hence, residents should not be panicked and there is no problem in eating at the restaurant in the local area, but it is reminded that the antibody level will decrease over time.

A spokesman for the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong explained that most teachers and students have the opportunity to enter and leave HKUMed  and nearby medical facilities to work and study every day. It is a responsible practice to distribute relevant information. It is hoped that teachers and students will receive the information before noon and avoid eating in the area. thereby having the opportunity to bring the virus back to hospitals and other medical facilities, endangering patients and users in the facilities.