Hong Kong developer closes mall after coronavirus cluster emerges

A cluster of 44 infections has been found from a Chinese restaurant in the K11 Musea shopping centre. PHOTO: K11 MUSEA/INSTAGRAM

HONG KONG (BLOOMBERG) - New World Development Co extended closing its flagship mall in Hong Kong through Friday (March 5) after a cluster of new Covid-19 cases centred there emerged over the past week.

The developer decided to shut the K11 Musea shopping centre - located in the Tsim Sha Tsui section of Kowloon - until Friday to begin deep cleaning and testing staff working in the premise, it said in a statement on Monday morning.

The mall was previously planned to close from Sunday through Monday.

This marks the first time a Hong Kong landlord has closed a mall because of virus concerns.

A cluster of 44 infections has been found from a Chinese restaurant in the mall, health officials said on Sunday.

A worker in the restaurant is believed to have passed the virus to coworkers and patrons more than a week earlier.

The landlord said it had offered free Covid-19 testings for its staff and tenants with 1,500 testings completed.

The extension to shut the mall is to make time for staff to complete another round of tests to enhance protection, according to the statement.

The K11 Musea mall, opened in 2019, is one of the latest additions to New World's retail portfolio.

Retail sales in its K11-branded malls increased by more than 50 per cent in the last six months of 2020 from the year before, Chief Executive Officer Adrian Cheng said in an earnings briefing Friday.

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