A man looks out from a ferry in Hong Kong on May 20, 2022. (ISAAC LAWRENCE / AFP)
HONG KONG – Hong Kong recorded 251 new COVID-19 cases on Wednesday as one more infection was linked to the Taikoo Shing cluster.
The new cases included 223 local infections and 28 imported cases, Albert Au Ka-wing, principal medical and health officer of the Centre for Health Protection’s communicable disease branch, said in a press briefing.
He added 104 were confirmed through nucleic acid tests and 147 by rapid antigen tests.
The new infection linked to Taikoo Shing cluster involved a 66-yer-old woman who was at the McDonald’s branch in Cityplaza mall around lunchtime on May 13
Au said the 28 imported cases included eight from the United States; four from Thailand; three each from Australia, United Kingdom, and India; two from the United Arab Emirates, and one each from Singapore, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Ireland and Taiwan region.
He also said that five new infections involving the Omicron subvariant BA.2.12.1 were also detected, bringing the city's total to 69. Two cases of the BA.2.12.2 subvariant were also found.
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Au said the new infection linked to Taikoo Shing cluster involved a 66-yer-old woman who was at the McDonald’s branch in Cityplaza mall around lunchtime on May 13.
“She was eating with two family members. She developed symptoms on May 17 and tested positive through RAT while her family members are negative,” Au said, adding that the cluster now has nine cases.
He said the CHP believes that the source of the infections was a 64-year-old woman who arrived from abroad and also ate at McDonald’s on May 13. She would later test positive for the virus.
“She had visited (McDonald's) during the incubation period and sat on the long table near the entrance. The (other) patients actually sat quite near that table, at least a few meters away,” Au said.
"The air mainly flowed in from lobby area into restaurant and was emitted via the kitchen. Because of the high viral load of the first patient, and she had to take off her mask to eat, it caused a short-distance transmission,” he added.
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Au said there was also another case found at St. Catherine’s International Kindergarten, where six infections were detected in one classroom on Tuesday.
The new infection was from a different classroom and not related to the six previous cases, Au said, adding that they had taken six environmental samples but they were all negative for the virus.
Larry Lee Lap-yip, chief manager (Integrated Clinical Services) of the Hospital Authority, also said at the briefing that two male patients,aged 78 and 98 and infected with COVID-19, passed away in the last 24 hours.
He added that 484 patients were also being treated in in public hospitals, the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Center, and the COVID-19 community treatment facility at AsiaWorld-Expo.