DH explains quarantine oversight

October 19, 2020

The Department of Health today apologised for the inappropriate quarantine arrangement made for a COVID-19 case involving a man who arrived in Hong Kong from India on October 15.


The department explained that the 25-year-old man had a negative result to a COVID-19 test conducted at a laboratory recognised by the local government prior to boarding his flight to Hong Kong.


Upon arrival in the city, he provided proof showing his identity as a consular staff in Hong Kong. The Centre for Health Protection personnel thus made relevant quarantine and testing arrangements for exempted persons according to the existing mechanism.


The man then proceeded to the Department of Health's Temporary Specimen Collection Centre at the Hong Kong International Airport to collect his deep throat saliva specimen before he was allowed to leave.


He was then taken to his residence in a vehicle arranged by the consulate and placed under medical surveillance for 14 days. Upon testing preliminarily positive on the same day, he was transferred to a public hospital for isolation and treatment.


According to the patient, he stayed at his residence alone upon arrival without leaving.


When following up on the case, the centre was informed by a relevant government department that the man does not belong to a rank that can be exempted from compulsory quarantine requirements even though he is a consular staff.


Under the prevailing policy, people who return from specified high-risk places should undergo compulsory quarantine at a hotel.


The department has reminded relevant staff to be prudent when handling quarantine exemption arrangements to avoid similar incidents.

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