6 more Filipino musicians in HK infected with COVID-19: officials

Jan Yumul, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2020 11:44 AM | Updated as of Mar 28 2020 10:56 AM

6 more Filipino musicians in HK infected with COVID-19: officials 1
In earlier days, Insomnia in Lan Kwai Fong welcomes the Happy Hour with an acoustic set. Jan Yumul, ABS-CBN News

HONG KONG - Six more Filipino musicians and a newly-arrived domestic worker have tested positive for COVID-19, Hong Kong health authorities said Tuesday.

All were bandmates and a Filipino patient who was confirmed to be positive on COVID-19 on Monday. 

All but one of the musicians, aged between 26 and 48, had no underlying illness, and no travel history during the incubation and infectious period. 

Hong Kong Health authorities said the band had spent the night in Lan Kwai Fong and went to other places like Insomnia in Central, Centrestage, and Dusk Til Dawn, both in Wanchai.

Authorities, however, said this does not mean the places were where they got the infection from. Health authorities are appealing to those who have come into contact with the recent cases to see a doctor immediately.

The six musicians and a newly-arrived Filipino domestic worker made up the largest recorded number of confirmed cases from the city's Filipino community in a day.

The Philippine Consulate reported that 7 Filipinos tested positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday. The official tally could rise once the newly reported local cases have been confirmed.

Officials have since classified playing music together at this time was a high-risk activity.

The news was a big blow to the already struggling musician community of Hong Kong due to the months-long anti-government demonstrations over a now-junked extradition bill. 

The Hong Kong Musicians' Union, which currently has 104 active members, majority of Filipinos, said it was "alarming" that more than 60 percent of the musicians in the union have lost their jobs as virus fears spread, forcing many establishments to close either temporarily or for good. Even musicians playing at hotels were not spared.

The seven musicians who recently contracted the diseases are not members of the union.

The government earlier rolled out a HK$30 billion anti-epidemic fund to render support to affected industries and sectors, including a HK$10,000 cash handout to all adult permanent residents in Hong Kong. Details on distribution have yet to be finalized.

"I'm eager to know how to help them. I understand all businesses are closing with what the Hong Kong Government is planning to do. It will totally financially hurt the musicians. What help can they get from the government? These are all people paying taxes," said HKMU chairperson Manuela Dacanay Lo.

Lo said some senior members of the union are part-time musicians and many of them teach at music schools. Applying for social welfare is an option but not all of them may be eligible, Lo said.

"And if they apply now, nako eh baka next year pa yun. They need help now," said Lo.

(They might get it next year. But they need help now.)

As of Tuesday afternoon, Hong Kong has reported 387 cases of COVID-19, including 4 deaths. Some 448 patients are under isolation, while 102 already recovered.