Domestic worker from PH found to have UK coronavirus variant

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The Centre for Health Protection on Argyle Street in Kowloon City.

A domestic worker from the Philippines and three other recent arrivals to Hong Kong were confirmed to carry the coronavirus variant detected in the United Kingdom, health authorities said Tuesday.

This comes as the Centre for Health Protection reported 32 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the city’s case total to 9,050. The sole imported case logged today came from Switzerland.

Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, CHP’s infectious disease branch head, said the Health Department notified them of the cases with the new variant. One of them is the 30-year-old worker who arrived via Philippine Airlines flight PR300 on Dec. 22.

Two other cases with the variant were from the UK, while another was from France.

Chuang said “stringent immigration measures” are in place—including the 21-day hotel quarantine—in anticipation of importing cases carrying the British coronavirus variant from countries outside of the UK.

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“The UK variant originated back in September as the people have been flying and therefore we anticipated that it will appear in other countries,” she said.

Nine local Covid-19 cases had no traceable sources of infection. Among these is a nurse working in two different clinics in Mong Kwok and Ho Man Tin but had no close contacts, Chuang said.

The nurse was reportedly wearing masks and dined alone, but the nurse’s coworkers had been arranged with Covid-19 tests.

There were also 20 cases that tested preliminarily positive for the virus.

Two male patients with Covid-19, aged 81 and 79, died in Tuen Mun Hospital in the previous 24 hours. Their passing pushed the city’s coronavirus-related death toll in public hospitals to 149.

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