Officials warn of virus transmission in Tuen Mun

Health officials on Tuesday warned of silent transmission of the coronavirus in Tuen Mun after more cases emerged in the district.

Two more people linked to a pharmacy in Tuen Mun, as well as a security guard at the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre who lives in the district, are among five people who have tested preliminary positive for the virus.

The latest patients linked to the dispensary are an 11-year-old boy and his mother, a 45-year-old housewife.

They developed fever on Monday and Wednesday last week and visited a private doctor in Tuen Mun, but were not tested for Covid-19.

The boy’s 20-year-old sister and their 47-year-old father have been confirmed with the infection.

The father runs the Tung Ah Dispensary at the H.A.N.D.S shopping mall in Tuen Mun.

Investigations show a Cathay Pacific flight attendant who returned from the US and was exempt from quarantine visited the dispensary for five minutes and came into contact with the father on December 27.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said genome sequencing showed the virus carried by members of the family matched with that carried by the flight attendant.

Meanwhile, a security guard who lives in Tuen Mun and works at the Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre has also tested preliminary positive. She developed sore throat on Monday.

She is responsible for distributing supplies at the camp and helping to carry people’s luggage.

Chuang said her colleagues who ate with her would be sent to quarantine.

Authorities said they would set up more testing facilities in Tuen Mun in view of the new cases.

“We do think that there may be risks of silent transmission in the community that’s why we are arranging increased testing facilities and ask people living and working in the Tuen Mun to get free tests as soon as possible in the coming few days,” Chuang said.

She also reminded people to get tested for Covid-19 if they develop symptoms, and that doctors should give their patients tests.

“It’s understandable because before the end of December, Hong Kong had no local cases for quite a while, so there may be a lack of awareness in the local community including the medical professionals as well as the general public,” she said.

In all, the CHP reported 21 cases, including eight local infections.