Hong Kong has reported no new cases of COVID-19 for the first time in nearly two months, as the government makes hotel new quarantine center
Hong Kong recorded no new coronavirus infections on Monday for the first time in nearly two months, although risks of imported cases remain as a hotel has been turned into a quarantine facility.
Because of the lack of cases, the Department of Health and Hospital Authority has decided not to hold a daily press briefing, through which they have been providing virus-related information at 4.30 pm since late January.
A government source told the Post the Regal Oriental Hotel, in Kowloon City, had been turned into a quarantine center, as health authorities had been trying to determine how to minimize the risk from residents returning to Hong Kong from overseas.
Officials had considered making travelers wait for their test results before sending them home for further isolation.
More details were to be announced by the Department of Health later on Monday.
Many of the hotel guests were forced to leave their rooms after a quick notice on Sunday night that it was to be used as a quarantine facility.
Guests would be transferred to another hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui, according to a member of the hotel staff.
Ken Choi Shik-Chung, who had booked into the hotel for the next few months, said he was told to reconsider his stay.
“We were offered either to move to another hotel under the same group or cancel the contract,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Regal Oriental Hotel confirmed to the Post that the government had requisitioned the whole hotel — which according to its website has 494 guest rooms – for quarantine purposes, but gave few details on who would be quarantined there, and for how long.
She said the hotel was arranging for its present guests, and those due to stay there, to move to other accommodation.
A hotel worker, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the hotel had offered options to residents to move to its Sha Tin or Tsim Sha Tsui locations, adding the government would pay for the wages of workers for the period of the requisition.
Alex Tsui, chairman of the Hong Kong Hotel Employees Union, said he was aware of the latest development and was concerned about the health implications for the workers there.
“Front desk and rooms service workers must be given adequate personal protective equipment including masks and gowns,” he said.
“The government should also include COVID-19 as an occupational disease to protect workers against possible work-related infections.”
Hong Kong recorded its first case of COVID-19 infection on January 23, and the last time the city detected no new infections was on March 5.
The infection rate increased in March when overseas residents rushed back from Britain, the United States, and Europe, bringing the virus back with them. But the surge has slowly dwindled, and Hong Kong has recorded single-digit cases for more than a week.