The second outbreak at the construction site came three days after the site reopened last Monday, as it had been suspended from December 9 to 27 following a 28-patient cluster among bar benders and their close contacts.

Hong Kong yesterday recorded 41 new infections among 22 males and 19 females aged nine to 82. Among 40 local cases, 16 were from unknown sources.

Chuang Shuk-kwan, the center’s head of communicable disease branch, said one of the unknown-source patients yesterday -- a 56-year-old man -- was a scaffolding supervisor at the tunnel.

The man working for Leighton developed a sore throat last Wednesday and got tested on Friday. His diagnosis prompted authorities to offer voluntary tests for workers, and results in 10 of them -- mostly scaffolders, carpenters and cleaners -- came back preliminary positive.

“As a result of a new outbreak, all 1,500 workers including 400 to 500 scaffolders and carpenters, will be mandated to take the test again,” Chuang said, adding those sharing the same changing room or had eaten together would be sent to quarantine but authorities are still counting the number of close contacts.

“The site will also be closed, but we are still discussing with the contractors on its reopen date.”
Despite a new cluster emerging at the site within a month, she believed they were separate incidents, as the two clusters involved workers from different duties.

Chuang said two more public buildings -- Un Shing House in Cheung Sha Wan’s Un Chau Estate and Fai Lam House in Po Lam’s Tsui Lam Estate - will be added to the list for mandatory tests as each has seen two unlinked units infected.

Hong Kong’s tally stood at 8,965 yesterday, including 150 deaths. More than 30 preliminary positive patients are pending confirmation.