A Hong Kong hotel at Kowloon asked guests to leave Friday after staff tested positive for the coronavirus - the latest in a series of locally transmitted outbreaks to hit the city.
At noon Friday, 300 staff of the five-star Royal Garden Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui boarded buses headed to a government-run quarantine camp near the border with China.
"The Centre for Health Protection has arranged for all male staff to be sent to a quarantine camp for 14 days," The Royal Garden Hotel said in a statement Friday.
Four hotel staff members tested positive for the virus late Thursday. It is suspected to have spread in the men's changing room, including servers at a third floor hotel café and the adjoining Sabatini Italian restaurant.
Guests were asked to evacuate their rooms by noon the next day in a decision by the hotel, not the government, owing to the sharp drop in staff.
"During this period, we will not accept room and restaurant reservations," a representative for the garden wrote. "[We] will assist room guests in arranging stays at other hotels upon request."
A professional cleaning company will disinfect the entire premises, including staff areas, hotel rooms and the attached restaurants. Meanwhile, everyone on the premises has now been tested for the coronavirus, said Health Department undersecretary Dr. Chui Tak-yi during a Friday evening briefing.
Many guests surveyed by local news media were not fazed by the small outbreak, as hotel staff and guests alike were required to wear masks when working or in common areas.
Despite these precautions, the number of local infections has more than tripled in the last week to reach 35 in the first seven days of October.
"Recently the COVIDd-19 outbreak in Hong Kong has deteriorated and many confirmed cases in the community are local cases," noted Director of Health Dr Chan Han-yee Thursday.
"Experts expect that a fourth wave of the epidemic will be inevitable," the doctor continued. "But hopefully with our measures we can minimize the rebound we are seeing now."
Authorities are hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. An expansion of the quarantine and treatment site at Hong Kong's Asia World Expo was completed Friday, making an additional 1,000 beds available for coronavirus patients.