64 new coVID-19 cases confirmed in Hong Kong! Virologist: Preliminary judgement on imported cases

On July 18, There were 64 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Hong Kong, bringing the total number of cases to 1778.
This number exceeds the total number of confirmed SARS cases in 2003.

According to the Hong Kong government press release on July 13, the coVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong has changed dramatically in recent days.
The latest public health risk assessment indicates that the risk of a major outbreak is extremely high.
On 13 July, the Hong Kong Government announced the gazetted amendments and directives under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Instructions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) and the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition of Group Gatherings) Regulation (Cap. 599G) to further tighten the social distancing measures.

On July 18, Dr. Dong Yan Jin, virologist and professor of medicine of The University of Hong Kong, told Red Star News that the novel Coronavirus that appeared in the novel coronavirus in Hong Kong had mutated D614G.
Importantly, however, the virus did not cause a change in symptoms, so there was no need to change treatment strategies;
From an immunological perspective, the virus is unlikely to affect the efficacy of the vaccine currently under development, “which means that the vaccine currently under development may still be effective against the mutated virus.”

Hong Kong has seen dramatic changes in coVID-19

Virus expert: Preliminary judgment of this outbreak is due to imported from abroad

On July 13, a press release issued by the Hong Kong government pointed out that the coVID-19 epidemic in Hong Kong has changed dramatically in recent days.
Of the 52 confirmed cases announced on 13 July, 41 were local.
Among the new cases during 7 July BBB 0 13 July, there were 181 cases with no outbound travel record during the incubation period.
The recent emergence of local cases of unknown origin indicates a continuous chain of hidden transmission in the community.
The latest public health risk assessment indicates that the risk of a major outbreak is extremely high.

Jin Dongyan, a virologist and professor of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, told Red Star News that he initially concluded that the third wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong was caused by imported cases. “Hong Kong is an international city with a lot of exchanges with other countries.
As the coVID-19 epidemic continues in other countries around the world, it is very easy to accidentally import coVID-19 from abroad into Hong Kong.”

Ms. Kim said that novel Coronavirus prevention and control is not easy and there is still a long way to go.
“Maybe a little relaxation of nerves and the resumption of some economic activity will provide a turning point for the virus to come back and break through the containment lines.”

On 18 July, the Hong Kong Government announced that it had gazetted the specified conditions under Chapter 599H of the Prevention and Control of Disease (Regulation of Cross-Boundary Means of Transport and Arrivals) Regulation to impose public health safeguards on visitors to designated high-risk areas within 14 days of their arrival in Order to further reduce the number of imported cases.
In accordance with relevant provisions of the regulations, starting from next Saturday at midnight (25), the Hong Kong people such as 14 days before arrival, in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa, 72 hours before boarding the plane must be provided to the will of coronavirus nucleic acid detection, and the test results were negative, the aircraft operator should be before the plane arrived, submitted to the department of health files, confirm the passengers have to show proof of relevant before boarding the plane.
Transit passengers in Hong Kong or persons exempted from the relevant quarantine regulations are not affected.

Hong Kong government further tightens social distance measures:

Restaurants can only take out food after 6pm;
Gatherings of more than four people are prohibited in public areas

A spokesman for the Hong Kong Food and Health Bureau said the recent spate of local cases of unknown origin is an important warning to the public not to let up in the fight against the epidemic, guancha.cn reported.
“Given the latest public health risk assessment, especially the recent cases show that involves not wearing masks activities caused by the high risk, we think now need to be further tightening measures of social distance, including food and beverage business in strict limits on the number and capacity, and other infection control rules, and close the table column space.”

A seven-day further tightening of social distancing measures began at 0:00am on July 15.
Under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Instructions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) and the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition of Group Gatherings) Regulation (Cap. 599G), amendments and instructions:

For restaurant business (solstice on July 15, 21 for seven days), the Hong Kong government requires that (1) no more than half of the seats in a restaurant should be served, and no more than four people should sit at a table;
(b) the person in charge of a restaurant shall not sell or serve any food or drink for in-service consumption from 6:00 p.m. to 4:59 a.m. of the following day, except in certain restaurants;
The restaurant itself had to be closed.
However, affected restaurants may continue to sell or serve food and drinks outside the premises and by delivery;
(iii) Bars or pubs must be closed;
(4) Live performances and dances shall not be held in the restaurant, and the gathering entertainment activities in the restaurant shall be suspended.

In addition, amusement game centers, bathrooms, fitness centers, beauty salons, nightclubs or nightclubs, karaoke bars, chess and card rooms and other establishments have been ordered to close.

For group gatherings, the Hong Kong government has asked the number of people allowed to gather in public places to be tightened from 50 to four, effective July 15.
Except for those exempted, group gatherings in public places will continue to be prohibited during the 14 days of 15 July BBB 0 July 28.

According to the Hong Kong Government press release, the person in charge of the catering business and the manager of the listed premises who contravenes the statutory provisions of Chapter 599F will be guilty of criminal offences and liable to a maximum fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for six months.
In addition, any person who participates in a prohibited group gathering, organizes a prohibited group gathering, or owns, controls or operates a place where such gathering takes place and knowingly permits such gathering commits an offence under Cap. 599G and is liable to a maximum fine of $25,000 and to imprisonment for six months.

Has the virus causing the outbreak mutated?

Expert: Does not affect the treatment and vaccine development

It follows media reports that the virus in Hong Kong has mutated.
Jin Dongyan told red Star news that the virus found in Hong Kong has a D614G mutation, which has a base pair change compared with the original virus and is located on the S protein (i.e. spike protein or spike protein) of the virus.

According to an article published by WeChat “huashan infection” of the department of infectious diseases affiliated to huashan hospital of fudan university, this protein is the core weapon of novel coronavirus to invade human cells and also the target of many vaccines and therapies at present.
Thus, mutations in spike proteins may alter the protein’s structure, properties and activity, making it easier for the virus to invade human cells.

Kim dong-yan said that although foreign scientists found that the virus in the mutant infected with the virus has a higher viral load and better binding to the cell receptor, but this does not mean that the virus is more infectious.
“I don’t think the evidence is strong enough, just a theory.”
In addition, Jin also stressed that although the virus content in the patients with the mutated virus is higher, there is no difference in symptoms between the mutated virus and the original virus according to observation, so there is no need to adjust treatment strategies for the mutated virus.

The “Huashan Infection” article also pointed out that the severity of the disease could not be measured by viral RNA load alone, and there were also high titer viruses in asymptomatic infected persons, and the above analyses were all statistically associated with no clear evidence.
At the same time, current evidence suggests that D614G is less important for COVID-19 than other risk factors, such as age or other underlying diseases.
Therefore, current evidence cannot confirm that the D614G mutant strain is more virulent.

Jin Dongyan also told red Star News reporter that at present, the mutation of virus is not in the critical area causing comprehensive antibody, so now it can be speculated that this mutation will not affect immune protection, that is, the same vaccine will have effect on the NOVEL Coronavirus after D614G mutation, “the vaccine under development should not be greatly affected”.

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