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Covid-19: Third wave scare continues in Hong Kong with eye clinic staff infections

KUALA LUMPUR (July 19): Three clerks in the Tuen Mun Eye Centre were among 64 new cases of Covid-19 detected in Hong Kong yesterday, the South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported.

The three eye hospital staff were identified as “front line” personnel serving members of the public.

“Each clerk may have interacted with 200 different patients a day,” Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, an infectious disease expert from the University of Hong Kong told the daily.

He said the staff were “responsible for handling money, identity cards and other documents” and “suggested” a patient who was “a hidden carrier” might have infected a clerk via indirect contact.

Yuen added that the clerks “could have caught the coronavirus by touching their eyes or eating without washing their hands” and “there was also the possibility of cross infection through sharing kitchen facilities in the workplace”.

“At this stage, we won’t rule out any possibilities. Maybe later, there will be more cases emerging,” he told SCMP.

The report also stated that Hong Kong authorities are tracing the close contacts with “31 out of the 33 categorised as such at their place of work had tested negative, with two results pending”.

The eye centre is now closed for disinfection while operations are suspended from Monday.

Yuen also revealed that a kidney dialysis centre is based in the same building and that 86 patients and 14 workers there would soon be tested as “those requiring the treatment had weak immunity”.

Yuen called for “all medical records in question be sterilised and isolated for 10 days”.

Meanwhile, SCMP also reported that Hong Kong broadcaster TVB announcing yesterday that a number of people “who had worked in its headquarters in Tseung Kwan O, or had contact with staff” have been infected with Covid-19.

TVB said none of its employees had tested positive so far and that it will arrange for tests of “those affected and their contacts”.

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