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Saturday, Sep 24, 2022

Classes suspended at schools hit by virus surge

Classes suspended at schools hit by virus surge

Hong Kong saw 204 Covid-19 infections at 147 schools yesterday, the highest since classes resumed in April, with some schools advised to partially suspend classes for a week.
Those alarming infections were among 543 infections reported, with 332, or 61 percent, representing self-declarations in the wake of rapid tests.

Two bar clusters saw 31 more cases, as genetic sequencing suggested they have stemmed from local infections, rather than from returnees to Hong Kong.

The Centre for Health Protection's head of communicable disease, Chuang Shuk-kwan, said Kowloon Tong Funful English Primary School reported 12 student infections from four classes.

Class 5F with six cases, class 2F with three cases and class 4H with two cases were told to suspend classes for a week. Class 4F had only one case.

Four of the infected students attended a basketball class last Friday afternoon, Chuang said.

Fuk Wing Street Government Primary School saw four class 4C students testing positive, ensuring class suspensions for 24 of their classmates.

Hong Kong Baptist University Affiliated School Wong Kam Fai Secondary and Primary School in Sha Tin, hit by a cluster in a French class, saw three more infections. The three, close contacts of those caught up in the cluster, are in quarantine.

A Holy Trinity College jazz dance class cluster in Shek Kip Mei saw one more student testing positive.

Chuang said the surge in school cases did not mean there were outbreaks as students were likely to have contracted the virus in the community.

Two Central bar clusters - Linq and Shuffle - saw 15 and 16 more cases, taking their tally to 93 and 85.

Genetic sequencing tests for the bar cluster cases have found they did not carry the L452Q mutation in the new Omicron BA.2.12.1 subvariant.

But the subvariant is linked to two other cases.

The uptick drew mixed reactions from experts.

Joseph Tsang Kay-yan from Medical Association warned of silent carriers in Kowloon City, while University of Hong Kong microbiologist Ho Pak-leung said people need not worry about a rebound.

Tsang said Kowloon City should be subject to compulsory testing but that tightening of social distancing curbs was not needed at bars as the outbreaks happened at only a few bars.

HKU expert Yuen Kwok-yung urged the use of masks in the peak winter flu season, citing his finding they not only lower Covid risks but are also effective against common bacteria, including those causing sepsis, thus leading to antibiotics usage lessening.
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