19 new Covid-19 cases logged, including 6 FDWs from PH

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Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan, head of the Communicable Disease Branch from the Centre for Health Protection (SCREENSHOT: Information Services Department/isd.gov.hk)

The Centre for Health Protection confirmed 19 new Covid-19 cases on Friday—12 imported and seven locally acquired—bringing the city’s coronavirus caseload to 11,500.

Of the imported cases, six were from the Philippines, and all of them were domestic workers found with a SARS-CoV-2 variant. Experts say the variant, which has a mutation in the N501Y gene, is more contagious.

Two of them arrived on Mar. 31 via Cathay Pacific flight CX906. The remaining four arrived on Mar. 20 and tested positive for the virus on the 12th-day sample: two from Philippine Airlines flight PR300, and two from Cebu Pacific flight 5J272.

Asked by local reporters if a ban on all flights from Manila will be imposed, CHP’s communicable disease branch head Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan said the 21-day hotel quarantine is stringent enough to detect the variants.

The United Kingdom announced that starting Apr. 9, non-residents flying in from the Philippines will be barred from entering. This follows a surge in Covid-19 cases in the Southeast Asian country as well as a detection of a new endemic coronavirus variant there.

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Another arrival from Pakistan on Mar. 20 was found to have a SARS-CoV-2 variant.

The other imported cases include two from Indonesia and one each from Canada, Botswana, and Ireland.

All local cases but one were epidemiologically linked to previous confirmed Covid-19 infections. One of the linked cases is a family member of a resident in Phase 3 of Kwan Yick Building in Sai Ying Pun, where confirmed cases were earlier detected.

A 33-year-old unemployed man was the only confirmed Covid-19 case without a discernible source of infection.

Chuang said the man lived in Tseung Kwan O Village, Tai Ngau Wu. He played football with a dozen other players in Sun Yat-sen Park, so his fellow players will have to be quarantined.

The man was also frequented Phase 2 of Metro City in Tseung Kwan O to buy takeaway food. A renovation worker who earlier worked in the mall is an earlier confirmed case.

Several people had tested preliminarily positive for Covid-19, Chuang said, but not one of them was untraceable.

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