Hong Kong reported another five confirmed cases of Covid-19 infection on Monday, including two more evacuees from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, bringing the city's total cases to 79.
Two others who attended a Buddhist worship hall in North Point linked to a string of cases have also been confirmed with the coronavirus. The other case is a 35-year-old businessman who last returned from mainland China on February 7, one day before a mandatory quarantine on everyone arriving from across the border was imposed. He drove to Shenzhen and back, and had remained at home since February 8.
The latest cases now mean three Hong Kong people evacuated from the quarantined Diamond Princess in Japan have contracted the coronavirus while another two passengers preliminarily tested positive for the infection on Sunday.
Meanwhile, two women, aged 68 and 57, are the fifth and sixth to contract Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, after attending Fook Wai Ching She Buddhist worship hall in North Point this month.
The 68-year-old visited the religious site about 20 times a month, according to a source. She developed symptoms last week and is being treated in Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam.
A woman believed to be the 57-year-old was reportedly referred by Hong Kong Sanatorium and Hospital in Happy Valley to Ruttonjee Hospital, a public hospital nearby.
As of Sunday, four people were confirmed as infected after visiting the worship hall, which is based in the Maylun Apartments building in King's Road.
Among them was a person who lived in the same block and visited the hall every morning, and an 80-year-old woman who was the first of those patients to show symptoms from February 8.
Of the 30 worshippers who contacted the Department of Health, five said they felt unwell and were sent to hospital. Ten others have been placed under quarantine.
Health officials previously obtained a court warrant to enter the hall. They said the virus probably spread during gatherings, adding there was no evidence so far to support evacuating people living in or using the same building.
As of early Monday afternoon, 79 people in Hong Kong have been infected, two fatally.
Earlier, the Hong Kong Buddhist Association urged temples to avoid or even cancel gatherings to minimise the risk of a community outbreak.
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