South China Morning Post
Hong Kong is expecting more than 70 new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, according to a medical source, extending an upward trend in infections that may continue under a more stringent testing approach launched after the outbreak in Yau Tsim Mong district.But authorities have also been pressed to further explain the rationale behind placing the neighbourhood of Sham Shui Po under similar tougher measures, with all residents of buildings with one or more cases there now subject to mandatory testing.On Tuesday, the city recorded 56 confirmed cases, with another 60 preliminary-positive results pending confirmation on Wednesday. The latter group included about 30 possible cases uncovered through voluntary or compulsory screening in Yau Tsim Mong.Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.The city’s overall tally of Covid-19 cases now stands at 9,720, with 166 related deaths.The latest fatality was an 88-year-old woman with a chronic illness who died in Princess Margaret Hospital on Tuesday evening.Under the government’s latest plan, in addition to the mandatory testing required at 70 buildings in Yau Tsim Mong district, tighter screening requirements have been expanded into an area of Sham Shui Po bordered by Yen Chow Street, Tai Po Road, Maple Street and Lai Chi Kok Road. Testing orders have already been imposed for residents of at least six buildings with confirmed cases.But district councillor Kalvin Ho Kai-ming questioned the government’s decision to step up testing in Sham Shui Po, noting neighbourhoods in Kowloon City and Yuen Long had recorded similarly high numbers of cases without having to undergo tighter screening processes.“If officials are saying that areas with many old tenement buildings should be included for more stringent screening, plenty of other areas also have the same problem. Why did the government target this neighbourhood in particular? They should further explain,” Ho told a radio programme on Wednesday.He added: “Residents in [Sham Shui Po] were confused. They started asking whether the area carries a very high potential risk, if visitors should go into the neighbourhood, and if [residents] needed to move elsewhere immediately.”But a government source said there were signs of an outbreak in Sham Shui Po area judging from sewage samples that were tested, adding numerous buildings in the area had subdivided flats and some were mismanaged.Professor David Hui Shu-cheong, a Chinese University respiratory medicine expert and government adviser on the pandemic, said it was necessary to expand screening in the neighbourhood to step up infection control. South Asian residents, concern groups outraged over official’s Covid-19 remarks“Expanding screening in the Sham Shui Po area does not mean the government is not planning similar requirements for other districts,” Hui told the same radio programme.Hui added that because the local situation remained severe, with a high proportion of untraceable cases, any relaxation of social-distancing measures was unlikely.University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung, meanwhile, was among those who rejected the notion that the recent surge in Covid-19 cases was connected solely to the number of people being tested.“The situation is not improving yet,” Ho said. “If virus transmission is not active in the community, a spike in cases may not happen, even if there is a higher number of people being tested.”Additional reporting by Elizabeth CheungMore from South China Morning Post: * Hong Kong fourth wave: South Asian residents, concern groups outraged over official’s coronavirus remarks * Coronavirus pandemic got Hong Kong to embrace e-commerce, and ‘trend looks likely to stay’This article Hong Kong fourth wave: more than 70 new coronavirus cases expected, tougher testing could keep numbers high first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2021.