Hong Kong records 60 COVID-19 cases, majority linked to gym

HONG KONG: Hong Kong recorded 60 COVID-19 cases on Friday (Mar 12), the city’s government said, as it scrambled to contain transmissions mainly among its expatriate community after a cluster at a gym spilt into the financial sector and international schools.

Hong Kong’s health department told a briefing that 47 cases were related to the outbreak at Ursus Fitness, a gym in the city’s trendy Sai Ying Pun district, which is popular with expatriate lawyers, bankers and hedge fund executives.

More than 240 people were sent to government quarantine due to the gym cluster, authorities said on Thursday. Many of the clients did not wear masks during their workout, they said.

A class of primary school students aged around nine years old at Kellett school, a prestigious British school, was also sent to quarantine, after confirmed cases were found. One parent will be allowed to accompany them for the 14-day period, the school said.

READ: Hong Kong probes death of man who received COVID-19 vaccine

At least nine schools have temporarily closed as a precautionary measure, schools and teachers said on Thursday. Schools had in recent weeks begun to resume face to face teaching after conducting only online classes since November last year.

Prior to the gym outbreak, daily cases in Hong Kong had fallen to low double-digits and single-digit levels.

“I don’t want to say this is the beginning of the fifth wave,” Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, from the city’s health department, told a press briefing. She added that she hoped the outbreak could be controlled soon.

READ: Hong Kong kicks off COVID-19 vaccinations with Sinovac jab

Gym goers are now required to wear masks during their workout while fitness centre staff members must get a COVID-19 test every 14 days, the government said on Friday.

Hong Kong has recorded about 11,000 COVID-19 cases, far lower than other developed cities. The city of 7.5 million people launched its vaccination programme in February and about 145,800 people have received their first shot so far.

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