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[New Coronary Pneumonia] Market has become a "epidemic time bomb"?


The new epidemic continues, and "market groups" have emerged in Hong Kong. Out of more than 70 wet markets under the FEHD, at least 11 markets have experienced the epidemic. In the past two days, more than a dozen new-type pneumonia cases occurred in Hung Hom and To Kwa Wan markets.

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Written by: Commentary Editing Room

2020-08-06 06:30

Last update date: 2020-08-06 06:30

The new epidemic continues, and "market groups" have emerged in Hong Kong. Out of more than 70 wet markets under the FEHD, at least 11 markets have experienced the epidemic. In the past two days, more than a dozen confirmed cases of new pneumonia have been reported in the markets of Hung Hom and To Kwa Wan, causing the markets to close for two days for cleaning and disinfection. Daily grocery shopping is an important need of the public. Once an infection occurs in the market, it will not only have a higher risk of transmission, but will also affect the lives of residents. The government must "dismantle the bomb" as soon as possible.

Recently, there were a number of confirmed cases of new pneumonia in Hung Hom and To Kwa Wan markets. Six of them belonged to fishmongers. Many people are worried that fish stalls are at high risk. In this regard, Liang Zichao, a specialist in respiratory system, explained on the radio program that with the outbreak in the community, patients will naturally bring the virus into the market. Coupled with the fact that the market is usually crowded with people, the risk of transmission is increased. The Director of the Infection and Infectious Diseases Center of the University of Hong Kong, He Boliang, also said that the outbreaks in many markets are believed to be spread through multiple channels, including some people not wearing masks properly, exchanges between stall vendors, and cash renewal.

In addition to the flow of people, environmental sanitation is also worth exploring. Perhaps it is the reason why there are more confirmed cases in markets than in supermarkets. Some Kwai Tsing District Councillors pointed out that there are some fruit and vegetable stalls in the district not only selling them without wearing masks, but also dumping garbage everywhere, making the back alleys full of vegetables, eggshells or packaging materials, which greatly increases the burden on cleaners , And make the neighborhood worry that it will increase the risk of rodent infestation and virus spread. For example, North District Councillors have repeatedly reported the problem of gathering gambling at the entrance of the Shek Wu Hui market. Even during the epidemic, the problem of gathering gambling without masks has not improved. In the market, there are many vendors who do not wear masks to talk. The market’s repeated "success" may be due to its dense crowds and complex environment.

Increase detection and detection

However, the market is an important place for the supply and sale of residents' daily needs. The direct closure of the market not only affects the lives of residents, but also affects the livelihood of the grassroots stalls. Therefore, the government should build better anti-epidemic measures in markets. At present, most crowded markets do not have body temperature detectors installed at the entrances. Even in markets with temperature detection like the Hung Hom Market, not all entrances can be installed. Therefore, the government should consider adding body temperature detection at the entrance of the market during the special period to identify potential patients as much as possible. The government can also list market stall owners as employees in high-risk industries and as targets for nucleic acid testing. At the same time, the government should arrange to increase market patrol manpower to avoid accumulation of debris, check the wearing of masks, and conduct regular temperature checks on stall owners. On the other hand, the settlement and circulation of "banknotes" is particularly risky during special periods. The government can consider subsidizing stalls to install Octopus machines, or provide them with technical training on network collection.

For citizens who go to the markets to buy vegetables, the government also has the responsibility to strengthen their awareness of prevention. For example, citizens are encouraged to stagger the peak period, buy food for multiple days at a time, soak the ingredients in clean water after returning home, and peel the fruit when eating. At the same time, the government can advise the elderly to reduce their travel. For families that don’t have young people to do it for them, they can only rely on individual market stall owners to provide food delivery services on their own, or wait in line to buy food online. The government should actively liaise with district councilors and community organizations to discuss how to form a volunteer team and undertake services such as buying and delivering food for families in need.

At present, the market "success" rate is high. Ho Pak-liang calls the market "epidemic time bomb". However, markets are an important part of people's lives. The government must start with environmental inspections of markets, appeals for epidemic prevention, and other aspects to "disarm" society as soon as possible.

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Source: hk1

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