Mutant strain case probed

July 19, 2021

The Centre for Health Protection today said it is investigating an imported preliminary positive COVID-19 case involving the L452R mutant strain.


The 27-year-old male patient lives at CentrePoint in Sheung Wan. He travelled to the US on July 4 and returned to Hong Kong on July 18.


He is asymptomatic, but his specimen collected upon arrival at Hong Kong International Airport tested preliminarily positive for COVID-19.


The test result by the Department of Health's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch revealed that the patient carries the L452R mutant strain but does not carry the N501Y or E484K mutant genes.


The centre said as the Ct (cycle threshold) value of his specimen is relatively low, which indicates a high viral load, the patient is likely to have been infected recently in the US.


Its investigations also revealed that he received two doses of the BioNTech vaccine in Hong Kong.


During the past 21 days, the patient had stayed in Hong Kong from June 27 to July 4. As a prudent measure, the Government decided to make a restriction-testing declaration for CentrePoint where he had resided.


The declaration took effect from 7.30pm and aims to be finished by about 7am tomorrow. People in the area subject to compulsory testing will need to be tested by midnight.


They will need 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.


People in the restricted area who have undergone testing from July 17 to 19 and can provide a SMS notification through a mobile phone or related certification containing the test results are not required to take the test again.


Meanwhile, any individuals who had been at that building for more than two hours from June 27 to July 19, even if they were not present in the restricted area when the declaration took effect, must undergo compulsory testing by July 21.


In addition, those residing in the same building will also be subject to compulsory testing on the third, seventh, 12th and 19th day counting from the day the case is confirmed.


The patient last worked on July 2 at Pacific Plaza on 418 Des Voeux Road West.


His workplaces and the places he had visited during the incubation period are included in a compulsory testing notice.


Additionally, since a few cases have been recently found in the airport, people who usually work at Terminal 1, the apron or midfield concourse must undergo regular testing.

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