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Covid-19: Cluster at key Hong Kong cargo terminal grows as 34 workers test positive

A cluster of coronavirus infections is continuing to develop at one of Hong Kong’s main cargo terminals. Health authorities said that 34 workers at the Kwai Chung Container Terminals tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday, accounting for almost half of the city’s daily total of 74 new infections.

All but one of the newly-infected workers worked for the same firm, Wang Kee Port Operation Services Ltd.

Kwai Chung Container Terminal 3 in Hong Kong. Photo: FactWire.

According to the Centre of Health Protection (CHP) on Sunday, 55 people linked to the Kwai Chung terminal cluster have now been confirmed to have Covid-19. Forty-seven of them are from the same company. Workers from least 10 different companies at the port have tested positive for the virus in total.

Expanded testing has been made available with over 7,000 saliva-testing bottles being distributed to dock workers. Meanwhile, over 100 of them are being sent to quarantine facilities in a bid to contain a further spread.

CHP’s Head of Communicable Disease Branch Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan said at a press briefing that shared facilities at the docks are to blame for the growing cluster: “They have a resting room with some beds, toilets, and showers, and workers share those facilities and sometimes sleep there to rest overnight. So, it is just like a hostel or a big family [area where] people share items and sleep in the same place.”

Photo: Kaiser/HKFP.

The developing situation threatens to impede one the world’s busiest ports.

The concern surrounding the Kwai Chung Container Terminals comes during a drop in infections in the city, which has reported fewer than 100 daily infections over two weeks. Last week, the government extended work from home arrangements for all its non-essential workers until August 23.

Hong Kong saw two more coronavirus-related deaths over the weekend, raising the city’s death toll to 69. The city has seen 4,481 coronavirus cases so far as it rides out its third wave of infections.

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