Almost 70 people have been infected with Covid-19 in the last 10 days in Hong Kong’s port, which has become the country’s third largest epicentre of Covid-19, with 55 cases in the Kwai Tsing container terminal alone. Sofreight.com reports that port workers’ family members have already been diagnosed with Covid-19, confirming secondary transmission.
Experts suggest that the disease was most likely spread by sailors skipping quarantine or by frozen meat products or due to the living conditions of port personnel, who share a break room. Investigations are still ongoing. It is still unclear how many people have been infected. Teams are still gathering additional data. However, the port plays an important role in the lives of the people in Hong Kong as much of the supplies and fresh produce is imported. Hong Kong port is also the main entry point for products destined for South China.
Zhang Zhujun, director of the Bureau for Infectious Disease at the Hong Kong Center for Health Protection, said that closing down the port is “a major decision”. Although closing down the port may help to stop this outbreak of Covid-19, this would also have a significant impact on Hong Kong distribution. The Hong Kong government is in discussion with port companies to help limit the interaction between port workers.
Kwai Chung dock is the eighth largest container terminal in the world. This is the logistical heart of Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta. Kwai Chung dock processed more than 14.22 million containers in 2019. That is nearly 80% of all the containers that passed through Hong Kong port in that year.