Hong Kong's Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said on Tuesday afternoon that its investigation into two novel coronavirus cases found in the same building was still ongoing as experts suspected a modified drainage pipe might lead to the infection.
According to the CHP's daily press briefing, as of Tuesday noon, another seven confirmed cases were reported, bringing the total number of novel coronavirus infection cases in Hong Kong to 49, including one death case, four in critical condition and two in serious condition.
Three of the additional cases involved relatives of the patient of Hong Kong's 42nd case, which was announced on Monday and triggered the overnight evacuation of dozens of households as the 62-year-old female patient was found residing in the same building as the 75-year-old male patient of Hong Kong's 12th case.
All the 34 households living at the 07 unit on different floors in Hong Mei House of Cheung Hong Estate in Tsing Yi area have been sent to quarantine centers, said the Controller of the CHP Wong Ka-hing.
Five of the evacuated residents reported symptoms, but were tested negative for novel coronavirus on Tuesday.
Public health experts and engineers are investigating into how the patients of the 42nd and 12th cases got infected and whether the two cases were related. They found that a drainage pipe in the toilet of the apartment of the 62-year-old female patient, or the 42nd case, was modified and might be leaking, and suspected this might lead to her infection.
"At this stage we cannot rule out any possibility, as we are not clear yet about the cases' way of transmission," Yuen Kwok-yung, professor of the department of microbiology of the University of Hong Kong, said at the briefing.
He said the measure of evacuating the over 100 residents in the building was taken as a prudent precaution.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Carrie Lam said on Tuesday morning that the HKSAR government attached great importance to the cases in the residential building, pledging a thorough and comprehensive investigation.