All foreign domestic helpers must undergo compulsory COVID-19 testing by 9th May after first local mutant case detected, helpers must be vaccinated before their work visas are renewed (Updated: 5.30pm)

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30th April 2021 – (Hong Kong) Dr.Sophia Chan, Secretary for Food and Health held a press conference at 5pm and said that there was a 39-year-old Filipino domestic helper with no travel history (Case No. 11773) infected with with double mutant virus (N501Y and E484K) . The government will attempt to trace the source of the infection. All 950 residents at Tower 11, Carmel Cove, Caribbean Coast, 1 Kin Tung Road, Tung Chung have been tested and the results were negative but they still need to undergo 21-day quarantine since the incubation period may last longer than 21 days.

Meanwhile, the five premises that the positive Case No. 11773 had patronised were included in the compulsory testing notice, and people who have stayed there are required to undergo compulsory testing in accordance with the compulsory testing notice.

In view of Case No.11730, a Filipino domestic helper which was infected with mutant virus earlier and the latest Case No.11733 in Tung Chung, as a precautionary measure, all 370,000 foreign domestic helpers must undergo compulsory testing by 9th May. Exemption will be applied to those who have undergone compulsory testing today. Foreign domestic helpers who have completed 2 doses of vaccinations and 14 days have passed will also be exempted.

In order to meet the demand of untested foreign domestic helpers, the government has made efforts to strengthen the testing capabilities of community testing centres and mobile sampling stations in various districts, and cooperated with the Labour Department to provide free testing services at 4 locations where foreign domestic helpers usually gather plus at least 6 new mobile stations. The government is also arranging for some community testing centres to extend their services to 1pm in the next two days.

4 local N501Y mutant cases have been identified in Hong Kong so far. Those who have been to Cheung Chau and Harbour City will need to undergo third round of virus testing after the Indian patient with mutant virus visited. Citizens who have visited the five premises that the positive Case No. 11773 had patronised must also undergo 2-3 rounds of virus testing.

Dr.Chan urged the public to get vaccinated as soon as possible and the next wave of epidemic may be more severe after the mutant virus has entered the community.

Meanwhile, Dr.Law Chi-kwong, Secretary for Labour and Welfare said that there will be new requirements for foreign domestic helpers applying for work visas. They must be vaccinated before work visas are renewed. The details will be announced by the Labour Department later. They must observe anti-epidemic measures during gathering this weekend and the Labour Department will take appropriate action against those who refused to heed advice.

Ronald Lam, Controller of the Centre for Health Protection, said that as of 0:00 today, there have been 11,775 cases and 209 deaths in Hong Kong. In the past two weeks, a total of 152 cases were recorded, with imported cases accounting for about 80% and local cases accounting for about 20% of the total. About half of the local cases are of unknown sources, indicating that there is still a lot of invisible transmission in the community.

In terms of the mutant coronavirus cases, as of 29th April, about 253 cases of mutant virus infections have been recorded. Among them, 129 were from the United Kingdom and 43 from South Africa. In the case of mutant viruses, about 75% are asymptomatic. Therefore, all measures must be taken to prevent and control the occurrence of the disease in the community. In the first local variant case (Case No. 11773), there were two variants, including N501Y and E484K detected. In terms of close contact tracing, more than 300 people were quarantined. Not all test results have been obtained. However, it was confirmed that her employer’s 10-month-old baby was infected. The test result of the baby’s parents was negative.

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