20th July 2021 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health (DH) today said that it is investigating two preliminary positive imported cases of COVID-19, of which one involves the L452R mutant strain.
The two cases involve a 13-year-old girl and her 11-year-old brother, both are children of the Saudi Arabia Consulate officials who live at Tang Kung Mansion in Taikoo Shing. They arrived at Hong Kong from Saudi Arabia by flight QR818 on 16th July and underwent self-isolation at home upon arrival according to relevant arrangement of exempted persons. Their specimens collected upon arrival in the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre at Hong Kong International Airport tested negative for COVID-19. The deep throat saliva samples they submitted on day 3 after their arrival tested preliminarily positive. The test result by the DH’s Public Health Laboratory Services Branch revealed that the female patient carries the L452R mutant strain but does not carry N501Y or E484K mutant genes, while the result of the male patient is pending. The female patient developed fever on 17th July while the male patient has been asymptomatic.
As the patients have spent the majority of their incubation periods in Saudi Arabia, they are likely to have been infected there. The CHP has classified the cases as imported cases.
The CHP’s epidemiological investigations and relevant contact tracing on the two cases are ongoing.
As one of the cases involves mutant strain which carries higher transmissibility, the Government has made a restriction-testing declaration towards Tang Kung Mansion in Taikoo Shing tonight as a prudent measure. Residents of the building will also be subject to compulsory testing on Days 3, 7, 12 and 19 counting from the day on which the case is announced.
Persons subject to compulsory testing are required to stay in their premises until all such persons identified in the “restricted area” have undergone testing and the test results are mostly ascertained. The Government aims at finishing this exercise at about 7am tomorrow. The Government will set up temporary specimen collection stations at the “restricted area” and request persons subject to compulsory testing to undergo testing before 2am tomorrow.
Moreover, the places they had visited during the incubation and infectious period will be included in a compulsory testing notice. Specified persons who had been present at the relevant venues at specified periods need to undergo compulsory testing on or before the specified date.