- Among the new cases, 41 had a history of recent travel, including 14 students who returned from overseas
- Concern over loss of taste and smell as a Covid-19 symptom surfaces, but expert calls for calm
Hong Kong recorded its highest ever daily tally of coronavirus infections with 65 cases on Friday, bringing the city's tally to 518.
Among the new cases, 41 had a history of recent travel, including 14 students who returned from overseas.
Ten of the fresh cases were also linked to a cluster involving musicians who performed in four bars in the nightlife hub of Lan Kwai Fong and in Wan Chai.
The musicians were part of a roster of nine bands managed by one company. Authorities said earlier that 124 people under the company could be at risk.
The Centre for Health Protection's (CHP) Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan urged returnees who were given containers for saliva samples to submit these for testing immediately.
"This is so we can (identify infections) sooner," Chuang said.
Among the new cases with recent travel history, Chuang said some were linked to other passengers.
For example, a 71 year-old man who became case 479 is the father of case 189, a male Hongkonger residing in Britain who returned to the city this month.
Chuang also said nine of the 10 new cases linked to bars were workers, with four being staff of Dusk Till Dawn in Wan Chai. The remaining patient was a musician.
So far, 16 bar customers and 27 staff members, including musicians, have been confirmed as infected.
Earlier on Friday, health authorities listed the loss of taste and smell as a symptom of Covid-19, with at least four patients from Thursday found with the condition.
Professor David Hui Shu-cheong, one of the medical experts advising the city's leader on the coronavirus pandemic, however, urged the public not to panic over such signs as they were also common in other ailments.
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He said there was no need for everyone who encountered the condition but had no other symptoms to be tested for the dreaded disease.
The four patients in question, aged 19 to 30, were among 43 new cases identified on Thursday. Three of them had returned to the city from Britain, while the fourth came back from the United States.
According to the CHP, two among the group also had other symptoms such as sore throat and breathing difficulties.
Hui, a Chinese University respiratory medicine expert, said: "Even common cold or allergic rhinitis may impair the sense of smell transiently.
"This should not be a big deal."
Chuang from CHP said local authorities had written to the World Health Organisation over the loss of smell and taste among Covid-19 patients, and whether this should be regarded as a key symptom.
"Currently we are still using fever or respiratory symptoms (as reporting criteria), because these are the main ones," she added.
Chuang also said Hong Kong authorities did not systematically record the prevalence of the loss of taste and smell among local patients, and it remained uncertain how long this condition persisted.
"Some patients told us that it only lasted for a few days," she said.
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