2nd December 2021 – (Hong Kong) The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today said that it is investigating a preliminary positive imported case of COVID-19 involving the L452R mutant strain.
The case involves a 28-year-old female patient who lives at On Kin House, On Tin Estate, Lam Tin. She departed Hong Kong on 20th November for the United States (US) after she tested negative for COVID-19 on 18th November. She arrived in Hong Kong from the US by flight SQ007 on 1st December and her specimen collected upon arrival in the Temporary Specimen Collection Centre at Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) tested positive for COVID-19. The patient is symptomatic. Her Ct value is less than 30 and her specimen carried the L452R mutant strain (but was negative for the N501Y and E484K strains). She works at 10/F, Wheelock House, 20 Pedder Street, Central, and last went to work on 19th November. She received two doses of COVID-19 vaccination (Comirnaty) on 23rd June and 14th July in Hong Kong.
Due to the presence of a mutant strain with higher transmissibility and risk of infection, the Government has adopted a prudent measure and will make a “restriction-testing declaration” tonight for the building where the patient resided in Hong Kong (On Kin House, On Tin Estate, Lam Tin). Her workplace and the places where she had visited in Hong Kong during the incubation period will also be included in a compulsory testing notice. Specified persons who were present at the relevant venues at specified periods need to undergo compulsory testing on the specified date. Epidemiological investigations and contact tracing of the case will continue.
As a result, the Government today 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 7pm, under which people (hereafter referred to as “persons subject to compulsory testing”) within the specified “restricted area” in Lam Tin (i.e. On Kin House, On Tin Estate, 39 On Tin Street, Lam Tin) 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 overseas who has lived in the abovementioned building was detected today, and the preliminary test result involved a mutant strain, 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 to be 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 1am tomorrow. Arrangements will be made for persons subject to compulsory testing to undergo a 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 for door-to-door specimen collection for people with impaired mobility and elderly persons.