January 13, 2022
HONG KONG – Hong Kong might be able to end the fifth wave of the COVID-19 before the Chinese New Year holiday if no new untraceable case is found, said the city’s leading microbiologist and government health adviser Yuen Kwok-yung.
The number of infections has not grown exponentially in recent days, indicating Hong Kong has succeeded in reining in the recent outbreak of the highly-transmissible Omicron variant, Yuen said in a radio show on Thursday morning.
Hong Kong is yet to find the source of one infection, involving a 58-year-old supermarket goods handler who tested preliminary positive on Jan 8.
If all the new cases can be traced to a known transmission chain, it would mean the virus is only spreading among close contacts, Yuen said.
Clarifying an earlier suggestion on double masking, microbiologist Yuen Kwok-yung said that wearing two masks provides extra protection because it reduces the chances of droplets leaking through gaps
However, Yuen expressed puzzlement at the infection of a 20-year-old university student living in Aberdeen. The young man’s infection was attributed to his dining in Nabe Urawa, a hotpot restaurant in Causeway Bay, at the same period with a woman who was confirmed infected.
The risk of the coronavirus spreading in hotpot restaurants is not generally considered as higher as there are ventilation systems with heightened “air change”, Yuen explained.
Since the two are sitting some distance away from each other, the young man and the infected woman might have came into contact with some objects in the restaurant, Yuen said.
Clarifying an earlier suggestion on double masking, Yuen said that wearing two masks provides extra protection because it reduces the chances of droplets leaking through gaps.
It is best to wear a surgical mask with a cloth mask over for a better fit to the face, he added.
However, there is currently no need for everyone to wear two masks. The recommendation is only for people who cannot be inoculated due to health reasons and those working high-risk jobs, such as airport workers or indoor salespeople, Yuen said.