Isolation for variant cases updated

July 20, 2022

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


Starting today, local COVID-19 patients suspected to be carrying the sub-lineages BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5 under the Omicron mutant strain as well as their close contacts may undergo isolation and quarantine at home if they fulfil relevant requirements.


Centre for Health Protection Communicable Disease Branch Head Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan made the announcement at the daily press briefing this afternoon.


She noted that as at July 18, Hong Kong has recorded 1,093 local cases carrying the Omicron sub-lineage BA.2.12.1 and 372 involving the sub-lineages BA.4 and BA.5.


After analysing these cases, the centre found that the severity of the three subvariants was similar to other variants which are widely circulating in the community.


Dr Chuang said: “The World Health Organization also noted that there is no severity signal among the BA.5 subvariant.


“The BA.5 subvariant has a growth advantage over other subvariants but we have not observed any increase in severity among those patients suffering from it.”


According to the latest risk assessment, the Government decided to adjust the isolation and quarantine arrangements for local cases suspected of carrying the sub-lineages BA.2.12.1, BA.4 and BA.5.


Starting today, these patients and their close contacts could opt for home isolation and quarantine if they fulfil relevant requirements and their household environment is suitable. Such arrangements will be the same as those for other Omicron cases.


Meanwhile, the centre reported that it is investigating 3,625 additional locally acquired COVID-19 cases, of which 1,515 were directly identified through nucleic acid tests and 2,110 via rapid antigen tests that were verified.


There were also 180 new imported cases.


Dr Chuang pointed out that there has been a gradual increase in the number of positive cases in the past few weeks and a further rise is expected.


She urged the public to stay vigilant, wear masks, maintain social distancing and adhere to the Government's epidemic prevention and control policies.


Separately, the Government made a restriction-testing declaration to cover Yee Fu Court of Tai Po Plaza in Tai Po, requiring people in the restricted area to undergo compulsory testing before the specified deadline.


Due to a number of positive cases, 55 specified places are included in a compulsory testing notice. It also covers eight specified premises in Shau Kei Wan and Lai Chi Kok where some sewage samples tested positive for the virus.


The Government will reopen the mobile specimen collection station at Cheung Ching Estate in Tsing Yi tomorrow, while the station at Wang Tau Hom Estate in Lok Fu will extend its services to July 22.


As there were positive sewage test results with relatively high viral loads in several areas of Tai Po, Wong Tai Sin and Sha Tin, the Housing Department and respective district offices will distribute COVID-19 rapid test kits to relevant residents as well as cleaning workers and property management staff working there.


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

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