Policeman found not infected with Covid-19

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Health authorities said Wednesday that the policeman working in Wan Chai who was an earlier confirmed Covid-19 case did not actually get infected with the coronavirus. (FILE PHOTO)

A police constable confirmed as a local untraceable Covid-19 case yesterday was found not to have contracted the coronavirus after all, with health officials linking his positive test result to possible contamination.

The Centre for Health Protection on Wednesday said genetic analysis from both the Department of Health and the University of Hong Kong found that the virus the man carried was similar to the strain found in the coronavirus vaccine.

“After examining the clinical, epidemiological and laboratory findings, this case is compatible with vaccine strain contamination and hence will not be classified as a case of Covid-19 infection,” the CHP said in a statement.

The exact source of the contamination will still be investigated, but his close contacts can be released from quarantine if they test negative for Covid-19.

The policeman, 35, had repeatedly tested negative for Covid-19 upon admission at the hospital and was not found to have antibodies.

The CHP also earlier revealed that the man had planned to receive a Covid-19 vaccine by Sinovac, but authorities had advised him instead to seek medical help because he had symptoms of upper respiratory tract infection.

It is the second time an infection has been deleted from the coronavirus case tally because of possible contamination from a vaccine. Last week, a 61-year-old nurse who worked at the Kwun Chung Sports Centre was removed from the infection tally after she was found carrying a strain similar to the inactivated virus strain in the Sinovac jab.

Hong Kong’s coronavirus tally stayed at 11,849 after the policeman’s case number was given to a returnee from the United Arab Emirates who tested positive for Covid-19 while under quarantine.

The 58-year-old man arrived in Hong Kong on May 29 from Dubai via Cathay Pacific flight CX746. He was found carrying a coronavirus variant with a mutation in the N501Y gene.