China ‘third wave’ fears skyrocket after horror coronavirus leak at Hong Kong laboratory
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The University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health previously reported a researcher became infected after handling samples of coronavirus on Saturday, with some believing she spread the virus around the facility. The University firmly denied this however, and said the other colleagues were given the all clear after testing. It comes as Hong Kong is set to see its “third wave” of the virus with rising cases.
The quarantine order applied to 41 workers and staff at the university, who have so far tested negative for COVID-19.
After checking the facility for traces of the virus, 14 out of 37 environmental tests came back positive.
The laboratory was studying non-infectious samples of the virus, with the initially infected researcher handling paperwork and gene-sequencing about the strain of COVID-19.
Health officials in the city were quick to downplay the possibility the staffers were infected in the laboratory, and said the researcher had caught coronavirus in the community.
It comes as Hong Kong reported their highest daily infections in around a month, at 23.
A majority of Hong Kong’s new cases were imported from abroad, at 19 in one day.
Eight of the 19 imported cases came from India, which has the second highest cases worldwide.
Seven of the new cases came from Nepal, the came from the Philippines and one came from Sweden.
Authorities have sought to curb the rising infections by stopping all Air India flights for two weeks.
The decision follows a flight from Kuala Lumpur in India to Hong Kong seeing five infected passengers,
Any airline that flies into Hong Kong with five or more people positive for COVID-19 is temporarily suspended from operating in the city under newer emergency health rules.
Air India has violated this rule before, flying into Hong Kong in August with more than five people infected with the virus.
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It comes as Hong Kong’s government reserved billions in funding to hold enough vaccines for double the population of the city.
The government has set aside HK$8.4 billion (£837 million) to place the massive order for Hong Kong’s 7.4 million people.
Health minister Professor Sophia Chan Siu-chee has warned a “fourth wave” of cases over the winter could be the worst seen yet.
She said: “The measures will not eradicate the virus without the vaccine but will avoid major outbreaks in the community.”
A government source also stressed the need for vaccines in an interview with the South China Morning Post.
They said: Not all vaccines will materialise and be available, but if they all do, Hong Kong will have two times the vaccines we need.
“The failure rate of vaccines being developed is very high.”
Hong Kong has seen a total of 5,033 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic started.
It has also reported a total of 103 deaths, according to health ministry statistics.
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