HONG KONG (Reuters) – Hong Kong reported 73 new coronavirus cases on Monday as the government warned the epidemic in the densely populated city is rapidly worsening with silent transmission chains feared amid a rise in asymptomatic infections.
The Chinese-ruled city has so far managed to avoid the widespread outbreak of the disease seen in many major cities across the world, with numbers on a daily basis mostly in single digits or low double digits in recent weeks.
Many of the latest cases are linked to dance clubs and the government has appealed to residents in affected areas to take a COVID test to help contain the outbreak. Mobile testing stations have been set up in several districts.
“The local epidemic situation is worsening rapidly,” the government said in a statement. “Some of the confirmed cases are asymptomatic and this has indicated the existence of many silent transmission chains in the community.”
The jump in cases has caused a travel bubble between Hong Kong and Singapore, due to launch on Sunday, to be postponed for two weeks.
Hong Kong has recorded 5,702 COVID-19 cases and 108 deaths since the pandemic began.
The government started to ease restrictions on dining, sports facilities and theme parks in September after a mass testing programme organised by the Chinese government.
(Reporting by Twinnie Siu; Writing by Anne Marie Roantree; Editing by Ed Osmond)