HK logs 16 new Covid-19 cases, including 6 arrivals from PH

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Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection. (SCREENSHOT:Information Services Department/isd.gov.hk)

Six more female arrivals from the Philippines were confirmed with Covid-19 on Monday, with four of them carrying a mutated variant of the coronavirus.

The Centre for Health Protection said the arrivals from the Philippines are among 16 new infections—15 imported and 1 locally transmitted—pushing the city’s coronavirus caseload to 11,525.

CHP communicable disease branch head Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan said one of them entered Hong Kong on Apr. 3 via Cebu Pacific flight 5J272. She was found to have a SARS-CoV-2 variant with an N501Y mutation.

Three others from Manila were found with a similar SARS-CoV-2 variant. They took the same 5J272 flight on Mar. 23 with two others who also tested positive for the virus but did not contract a mutated strain of the virus.

Five other imported Covid-19 cases came from India—all arriving on Apr. 4—with two of them carrying a variant. Two imported cases with a SARS-CoV-2 variant also arrived from Pakistan on Mar. 23.

Another two returnees from Pakistan also tested positive for the coronavirus.

The influx of Covid-19 cases from India prompted health authorities to ban flights operated by TATA SIA Airlines (Vistara) from India (Delhi) to Hong Kong from Apr. 6 to 19.

The ban comes after consecutive flights on Mar. 10. and Apr. 4 had respectively three and four passengers confirmed to have Covid-19.

However, a ban was not implemented on Cebu Pacific flights from the Philippines, which have met the criteria of having five passengers in a flight to have contracted the coronavirus.

Asked if the government will suspend the entry of arrivals from Manila where the daily confirmed Covid-19 caseload has hit above 15,000, Chuang said stringent safeguards and testing procedures are in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in the community.

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“We are already instituting one of the strictest border controls in the whole world, which the 21-day quarantine in designated hotels,” Chuang said.

The sole local case is a 32-year-old salesman in Fortress in Wai Fung Centre in Mong Kok. He last went to work on Mar. 22, before developing symptoms on Mar. 30.

CHP’s Dr. Chuang Shuk-kwan said the man worked on the basement floor and sold electronics. He was wearing a mask during his shift.

Some of his workmates will be quarantined and those who stayed for more than two hours in the store will have to be tested, she added.

Since the man stopped going to work, he had also been caring for his wife who recently gave birth to his son at the United Christian Hospital. He had also frequented Lei Yue Mun Market at Lei Yue Mun Plaza in Yau Tong in the past week, where two other visitors tested positive.

A mandatory testing order will be issued to those who visited the market for more than two hours since Mar. 24.

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