Yat Kwai House residents to undergo nightly tests

The government’s pandemic advisor, Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, announced late on Thursday that residents of Yat Kwai House on Kwai Chung Estate would have to undergo mandatory testing every night until and including Sunday, if they wanted to leave the building the following morning.

That’s after a major outbreak there, involving 15 residents and a security guard. So far, they have either tested positive or preliminary positive for the coronavirus.

Those infected live in 12 apartments, on 11 different floors, which face in 10 different directions.

Dr Albert Au from the Centre for Health Protection said initial investigations had shown that a man, carrying the BA.2 strain of Omicron and who is part of the Silka Hotel cluster, had visited the building’s refuse collection rooms on January 13.

He was also in the garbage rooms of Chin Kwai House and Luk Kwai House on the same estate.

He had then taken away some items and sold them on Nam Cheong Street in Sham Shui Po, near the Pei Ho Street Market.

Au said it’s believed the man introduced the virus to Yat Kwai House. He said security guards and cleaners had also used the refuse collection rooms, subsequently spreading the virus around the block.

Speaking to reporters, after inspecting the building, Yuen said there was no need for residents to be evacuated because experts hadn’t noticed any structural or ventilation problems at the block.

Yuen added that the government simply didn’t have enough quarantine space for everyone, or the resources to order a complete lockdown of the tower.

He said the most reasonable approach would be to impose a lockdown of the building every night, and to require residents, who wish to leave the building the following morning, to get tested.

“These people will only be allowed to go out after their results come back negative,” he said.

The microbiologist also urged people living in the block to wear better-fit face masks, or two layers of masks in order to protect themselves.

“At the end of the day, people should get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he stressed.