Hong Kong schools to be suspended as 30 more people test positive for Covid-19

  • The newest outbreak originates from a housing estate in Sha Tin
  • Government adviser suggests the city cancel the annual book fair, but health minister says it will continue with social-distancing measures in place
South China Morning Post |

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The latest outbreak has happened at Shui Chuen O Estate in Sha Tin. Photo: SCMP/Winson Wong

Even though schools were advised Friday to close again, some can remain open for Primary Five exams. The tests scheduled for this week will be used to allocate secondary school places in the 2021-22 academic year. Students would have to wear masks and maintain social distancing.

About 20 primary and secondary schools had already decided to stop classes, or begin the summer break early, over the past few days because of possible links to newly infected cases, or just to be extra careful.

A medical source said at least 30 more people have been tested positive, of which 11 are from Ming Chuen House, on Shui Chuen O Estate, in Sha Tin.

The latest cases came as a leading government health adviser suggested cancelling the annual Hong Kong Book Fair, which is scheduled to begin next week.
But the city’s health minister insisted the event would proceed, albeit with social-distancing measures in place. 

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“The most ideal decision, I believe, should be cancelling this year’s book fair,” Chinese University’s Dr David Hui Shu-cheong said. “If anyone from the fair [including visitors or booksellers] got infected, a lot of contact tracing will be needed, which is a big problem.” 

He said if the government intended to go ahead with the fair, which runs from July 15 to July 21 and is one of the largest of its kind in Asia, infection-control measures should include crowd control and making wearing a mask mandatory.

Secretary for Food and Health Sophia Chan Siu-chee said the government intended the fair to proceed, but social distancing and other precautionary measures would be in place.

“We have found that events where people do not wear masks have a particularly high risk,” she said. “The organiser will be provided with guidelines and should implement measures including temperature screening, [providing visitors with] hand sanitisers, as well as keeping a 1.5-metre social distancing.”

On Thursday, Hong Kong recorded 42 coronavirus cases, taking the total number of people infected to 1,365.