On early Tuesday (11 February), Hong Kong authorities announced that it has evacuated residents living in the same building of those two confirmed with coronavirus.
They said that the two infected individuals live on different floors of a residential building in the New Territories district of Tsing Yi.
Hong Kong media reported on Tuesday that a 62-year-old woman, who stays 10 storey below a man who was previously infected with the deadly coronavirus, had been infected.
The director of the Centre for Health Protection, Dr Wong Ka-hing, noted that the government is looking into the suspected environmental transmission cases in the building.
Dr Wong had earlier noted that it was uncertain how many residents were in the 35 floors of Hong Mei House in the Cheung Hong Estate, but all of those who have showed symptoms would be placed in quarantine as a precautionary measure.
However, Reuters reported that the Government revealed that four people who have been evacuated from the residential building showed symptoms of the virus.
The Government also added that occupants of 23 households in the Tsing Yi housing complex have been relocated to quarantine centres, while it was still reaching out to people from nine housing units.
Citing Hong Kong authorities, the country’s free newspaper The Standard reported in its website that it is possible that the virus spread through faecal matters.
Additionally, microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung from the University of Hong Kong, said to the news site that one possibility was that a broken exhaust pipe had allowed the virus to spread to other individuals.
During the 2003 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), the largest number of cases reported in Hong Kong was in an apartment complex where the virus spread through sewage pipes.
Based on this, Reuters reported that the Hong Kong government is investigating drainage pipes in the residential building in Tsing Yi district as fears loom that the virus could have spread through the system.
People are staying in
As the city goes on high alert to contain the spread of the deadly virus, part of Hong Kong, including restaurants, shopping malls and cafes remain empty as people work from home and schools stay closed.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam also urged everyone in Hong Kong to remain indoors as much as possible.
“As part and parcel of enhancing social distancing we are making an appeal to the people of Hong Kong to stay at home as much as possible,” she told reporters.
She added, “But at the moment, we’re making this appeal, we’re not going for compulsory closures because Hong Kong is a free society.”