HK detects 9 COVID-19 cases

April 23, 2021

(To watch the full press briefing with sign language interpretation, click here.)


The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating nine additional COVID-19 cases, one of which is locally transmitted with an unknown source of infection.


The unlinked case involves a 23-year-old woman who lives in Block 10 of South Horizons in Ap Lei Chau.


Considering that the risk of infection in this building may be higher, the Government decided to make a restriction-testing declaration for Block 10 of South Horizons.


The declaration for the restricted area took effect from 8.30pm. People in the area subject to compulsory testing will need to be tested by 2am.


They will be arranged to undergo a nucleic acid test at temporary specimen collection stations set up there, where staff will collect samples through combined nasal and throat swabs.


The Government will arrange door-to-door specimen collection for people with impaired mobility and seniors.


It aims to finish the exercise by about 8am tomorrow.


At a press briefing this afternoon, Centre for Health Protection Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan reported that two of the preliminary positive cases are locally transmitted.


One of them is a foreign domestic helper who returned from the Philippines to her employer’s home after completing the 21-day quarantine. The centre found that she was carrying the N501Y mutant strain of the virus.


Dr Chuang said: “Concerning the preliminary positive cases, one of them just finished the 21-day quarantine after arrival from the Philippines on March 27. So she finished the quarantine on April 17 and then went back to stay with her employer’s family.


“She was asymptomatic all along. She went for COVID-19 testing on April 22 and was found to be preliminary positive.


“As usual, we will quarantine the employer’s family and other close contacts to find out if there are other sources of infection in the community.”


The centre has not ruled out the possibility that the helper acquired the infection at the Ramada Hong Kong Harbour View hotel where she had stayed.


“With this suspicion in mind, we looked up all the other confirmed cases in the same hotel during the period she stayed there and found that there is a family who stayed in the next room in the same hotel.


“This might be a coincidence, but we cannot totally exclude the possibility that there is suspected transmission between the family and this case.”


The helper had undergone a body check up at Melbourne Plaza in Central, registered an identity card at the Hong Kong Registration of Persons Office on 8/F, Immigration Tower as well as visited an employment agency at Kam On Building, 176 Queen’s Road Central on April 19.


The Immigration Department said in consideration of public health and hygiene, the office was suspended immediately and will be closed for three days until April 26.


Members of the public may consider using other Registration of Persons Offices for identity card applications and related services. 


Another locally infected preliminary positive case involves a government driver who lives in Tseung Kwan O and had visited the same gym as a previously confirmed case.


Dr Chuang said: “For the patient who had been to Physical Fitness & Yoga Centre in Tseung Kwan O, we found that both cases - the previous case and this preliminary positive case - used the same gym facility during almost the same time on the same day.


“We do not think this is a coincidence. We suspect that there is probably some silent transmission in the gym.”


A building, a workplace and five specified premises where the confirmed cases had been present at are included in the compulsory testing notice.


In view of the unlinked local case involving the N501Y mutant strain, people who had been present at ten specified premises during the specified period must undergo a second test.


Additionally, eight schools are covered in the compulsory testing notice because of outbreaks of upper respiratory tract infection.


The Government will set up five mobile specimen collection stations and extend the service of the mobile specimen collection stations at Wong Tai Sin Square and Sha Tin Town Hall Plaza to May 3.


The centre continues to follow up on the abnormality observed in the 30 preliminary positive results of COVID-19 testing conducted by private laboratory BGI.


Two of them were confirmed today which were imported cases from the Philippines and Indonesia.


Twenty-seven were tested again with negative results in hospitals, while the test result of the remaining case is pending. Dr Chuang noted that if these cases are not confirmed, the affected people will be discharged from hospital and their close contacts will also be allowed to leave the quarantine facilities.


For information and health advice on COVID-19, visit the Government's dedicated webpage.

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