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Coronavirus: public well being specialists warn Hong Kong not doing sufficient to maintain out exterior Covid-19 threats regardless of flight ban on India, Pakistan and the Philippines

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Town to date has recorded greater than 220 circumstances of coronavirus variants, almost all of them introduced in from abroad. 

Metropolis authorities on Sunday imposed a two-week ban ranging from Tuesday on flights from India, Pakistan and the Philippines. All three nations have been deemed “extraordinarily high-risk nations” by Hong Kong after no less than 5 arrivals from every nation have been discovered to be carrying the mutant pressure over a seven-day interval.

India is within the grip of a second wave, reporting a file 273,810 new circumstances on Monday whereas deaths rose by 1,619 to 178,769. A brand new Covid-19 variant with a so-called double mutation is considered fuelling the unfold.

Pakistan on Sunday noticed its highest single-day dying toll of 149, whereas 73 extra fatalities have been reported on Monday. It has now recorded 16,316 deaths and 761,437 infections.

The Philippines, the worst-hit Southeast Asian nation, reported 9,628 new infections on Monday, taking its tally to greater than 945,000.

Macau has been extra aggressive with its anti-epidemic measures, extending quarantine to 28 days ranging from Monday for arrivals from the three high-risk nations.

Extra clues on the place the person from Dubai had been contaminated with the N501Y mutation have been anticipated on Wednesday, when the outcomes of viral genome sequencing have been more likely to be out, mentioned Professor Leo Poon Lit-man, head of the College of Hong Kong’s division of public well being laboratory sciences. 

Officers revealed that the person’s contaminated 31-year-old buddy labored on the Optimum Household Well being clinic within the Centrium workplace constructing at 60 Wyndham Road, Central. 

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The lady’s colleagues and sufferers of the clinic have been positioned beneath quarantine, and guests to the constructing issued with obligatory testing orders.

Consultants mentioned the federal government needed to be extra proactive in stopping the specter of imported circumstances. 

“Banning flights for 14 days is certainly not sufficient, as a result of the pandemic scenario in these locations won’t drop considerably after the 14th day,” HKU microbiologist Dr Ho Pak-leung warned. 

He mentioned the federal government ought to monitor 4 main threat components: the epidemic scenario of particular person nations; the prevalence of variants; the variety of flights coming into Hong Kong; and the variety of contaminated passengers or aircrew. 

“If there are a number of threat components, the federal government ought to take corresponding measures as quickly as potential and record them as [extremely high-risk] nations [with flight bans],” Ho advised a radio programme, including it will be higher than the prevailing mechanism which triggered a ban solely when a sure variety of circumstances had been imported.

He additionally known as for the federal government to strengthen measures governing quarantine accommodations, equivalent to growing the regularity of testing to each seven days and requiring extra thorough disinfection of premises.

Dr Leung Chi-chiu, a respiratory drugs specialist, mentioned stopping travellers from these nations getting into Hong Kong past the 14-day interval can be higher, though he didn’t specify for a way lengthy. 

“That is probably the most cost-effective measure, as a result of as soon as they get into Hong Kong, they might trigger transmission dangers on the airport [or] through the resort quarantine interval,” he added.

Authorities pandemic adviser Professor David Hui Shu-cheong mentioned officers ought to take into account lengthening the interval of obligatory confinement for these coming from India, Pakistan and the Philippines from the present 21 days, if the flight bans have been lifted.

“When opening up sooner or later we will take into account requiring 28 days of quarantine if the dangers stay excessive, particularly given the outbreak in India could be very severe in the meanwhile,” Hui advised a unique programme. “In any other case, [there should be] 21 days with seven days of self-observation … However the residing setting in Hong Kong will not be that possible to take action.”

Leung additionally believed extending the quarantine interval to 28 days was the “proper transfer”. 

However HKU’s Poon questioned the necessity for such an association, arguing that greater than 90 per cent of circumstances have been recognized inside the 21-day quarantine interval. 

“Having a 28-day quarantine is definitely safer than a 21-day quarantine, however can [the public] settle for this?” Poon mentioned.

Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, one other pandemic adviser to the federal government, additionally mentioned it will be higher to introduce extra testing earlier than day 21 of quarantine, and impose house isolation for an additional week and get folks screened once more throughout that interval. 

He added that flights from these high-risk nations must be stopped and the association reviewed solely when the epidemic scenario improved.

Town’s Covid-19 tally stood at 11,695 confirmed circumstances, with 209 associated deaths.

The only native case on Monday, an 84-year-old man who lives on the eighth flooring of Block 2 of Oi Fai Home in Tuen Mun’s Yau Oi Property, triggered the evacuation of about 40 residents from 12 flats on the identical stage.

Asymptomatic residents can be despatched to quarantine, whereas these with signs can be admitted to hospital. The 84-year-old lived subsequent door to a 63-year-old man who was a confirmed case on Saturday. 

“Given environmental contamination on the identical flooring of the constructing can’t be excluded, the Centre for Well being Safety determined to hold out prudent measures on an infection management,” the CHP mentioned. 

In a single day lockdowns have been imposed on Fu Yung Constructing and Block four of Belvedere Backyard Part 2 in Tsuen Wan on Monday at 8pm, after a preliminary-positive case with an unknown supply was detected in every constructing. The operations have been anticipated to finish at round 7 to 7.30am on Tuesday. 

A 31-year-old kindergarten trainer, in the meantime, who examined preliminary-positive on Saturday wouldn’t be labeled as a confirmed case, the CHP mentioned on Monday. A public laboratory had discovered a pattern from the lady, who works at Choi Kai Yau Kindergarten-cum-nursery in Tseung Kwan O, was “indeterminate”, and additional checks completed in a hospital discovered she was adverse for the coronavirus and antibodies.

Had her case been confirmed, greater than 100 pupils and employees would have been quarantined.

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