Eighth Omicron case identified

December 14, 2021

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) today said it is investigating five additional imported COVID-19 cases, three of which involve the L452R mutant strain while the other two carry the N501Y mutant strain.


Meanwhile, an imported case announced earlier is confirmed with the Omicron variant, bringing the number of cases involving that variant in Hong Kong to eight.


The newly reported cases concern two men and three women arriving in the city from high-risk places.


One of them is a foreign domestic helper. She arrived in Hong Kong on November 17 from the Philippines by flight 5J272. The specimen collected upon arrival at the airport tested negative for COVID-19 and the results of the six tests conducted during the compulsory quarantine period at the Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre were also negative.


Upon completion of the compulsory quarantine on December 8, she stayed at Winland 800 Hotel in Tsing Yi. She underwent a test at a community testing centre on December 12 and the result was preliminarily positive with low viral load. Her specimen carried the N501Y mutant strain.


Preliminary testing showed that the case has a high probability of carrying the Alpha variant. The whole genome sequencing conducted by the Government's Public Health Laboratory Services Branch is continuing, so as to exclude the possibility of the Omicron variant.


The patient tested negative upon admission to hospital while her antibody test was positive. Based on the epidemiological and laboratory findings, the case is compatible with a re-positive case.


She is asymptomatic and received one dose of Janssen vaccination on July 29 in the Philippines.


As a prudent measure, the places where she resided and visited in Hong Kong during the incubation period have been included in a compulsory testing notice. Those who were present at these venues at specified periods need to undergo compulsory testing on or before December 15.


Three schools are also covered in the notice due to outbreaks of upper respiratory tract infection and influenza-like illness.


The Government set up a mobile specimen collection station at the loading bay, level 1 carpark of Rambler Crest in Tsing Yi near Winland 800 Hotel today. The station will continue to operate tomorrow to provide the free testing service for staff and visitors of the hotel subject to compulsory testing.


A total of 60 cases have been reported in the past 14 days and all of them are imported cases.


Separately, the CHP provided an update of its investigations into an imported case announced yesterday involving a 50-year-old male patient.


He arrived in Hong Kong from Tanzania, South Africa and Kenya by flight QR818 via Qatar on December 10 and tested positive during the compulsory quarantine at the Penny's Bay Quarantine Centre.


He developed symptoms on December 12. The cycle threshold (Ct) value for the test after admission to hospital on the same day was less than 20 and he tested positive for antibodies.


The whole genome sequencing conducted by the Public Health Laboratory Services Branch confirmed that the case carries the Omicron variant. The man received two doses of BioNTech vaccination in Hong Kong on April 16 and May 7.


There are so far eight cases involving Omicron in the city. Of the seven cases reported earlier, two cases each are related to South Africa, Nigeria and the UK while the remaining case is related to the US.


Noting that the eight cases involving Omicron were detected at the airport restricted area, a designated quarantine facility or a designated quarantine hotel, the CHP said there has not been any spread of the variant in the community.


The centre added that it will adopt the most stringent prevention and control measures to prevent the strain from entering the local community.


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

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