Block 6 of Handsome Court in Tuen Mun under lockdown testing after mutant case from Dubai detected

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22nd July 2021 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection of the Department of Health said today (22nd) that it is investigating a preliminary confirmed imported COVID-19 case involving the L452R mutant virus strain. The case involved a 36-year-old female patient living in Block 6, Handsome Court, Tuen Mun. The government announced that the female patient went to Dubai, United Arab Emirates on the 12th of this month, and took flight EK384 to Hong Kong via Bangkok, Thailand on Monday (19th). When she arrived in Hong Kong, she was tested at the airport temporary sample collection centre, and the result showed that there was no confirmed diagnosis. The test result on the third day after her arrival in Hong Kong then became positive. The test by the Public Health Laboratory Service of the Department of Health showed that the patient had the L452R mutant virus strain, but did not carry the N501Y and E484K mutant genes. The patient has no symptoms. The centre has listed this case as an imported case.

During the past 21 days, the patient had stayed in Hong Kong from 30th June to 12th July. As a prudent measure, the Government will make a restriction-testing declaration tonight for the building where the patient resided in Hong Kong (Block 6, Handsome Court in Tuen Mun). 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.

Moreover, the patient works in Eton Tower, 8 Hysan Avenue, Causeway Bay, and went to work in the period from 30th June to 11 July during the past 21 days. Her workplace and the places she had visited during the incubation 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.

The CHP’s investigation reveals that the patient received two doses of COVID-19 vaccination on 9th May and 5th June in Hong Kong (Comirnaty vaccine). Her blood specimen tested positive for anti-spike protein antibody on 11th July. An epidemiological investigation and contact tracing of the case will continue.

As a result, the Government exercised the power under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Compulsory Testing for Certain Persons) Regulation (Cap. 599J) to make a “restriction-testing declaration” (declaration) effective from 7.30pm, under which people (hereafter referred to as “persons subject to compulsory testing”) within the specified “restricted area” in Tuen Mun (i.e. Block 6, Handsome Court, 388 Castle Peak Road, Tuen Mun. See Annex) are required to stay in their premises and undergo compulsory testing. 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.

A Government spokesman said, “Under Cap. 599J, the Government can, according to the needs of infection control, make a ‘restriction-testing declaration’. As a preliminary positive case arriving from Dubai was detected today and the preliminary test result involved a mutant strain, and the patient has lived in Tuen Mun within the past 21 days, the risk of infection in the relevant area is assessed to be likely higher, so the Government decided to make a ‘restriction-testing declaration’ for the relevant area after the test result was found positive.”

The Government will set up temporary specimen collection stations at the “restricted area” and request persons subject to compulsory testing to undergo testing before 12am tomorrow. Persons subject to compulsory testing will be arranged to undergo nucleic acid test at specimen collection stations where dedicated staff will collect samples through combined nasal and throat swabs. Persons subject to compulsory testing must stay at their place of residence until all test results are ascertained to avoid cross-infection risk. The Government will arrange door-to-door specimen collection for people with impaired mobility and elderly persons.

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