29th April 2021 – (Hong Kong) Dr. Ronald Lam, Controller for Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said that a preliminary confirmed COVID-19 case with N501Y and E484K South African variant virus was found at Tower 11, Carmel Cove, Caribbean Coast in Tung Chung. She is a 39-year-old Filipino domestic helper and a 10-month-old baby girl in her employer’s home has also been infected. Lam pointed out that this is the first time where residents of the entire building have to be evacuated and quarantined for 21 days after a locally confirmed variant case was detected. As N501Y mutant strain is with high transmissibility, the CHP decided to carry out prudent measures on infection control and prevention to arrange compulsory quarantine for asymptomatic residents of all units (involving about 400 units) on all floors of the building concerned, so as to stop the potential risk of spread of N501Y mutant strain.
The infected domestic helper started coughing last Friday (23rd). She sought medical treatment from a private doctor in the area 3 days later. It was not until Tuesday (27th) that she went to the mobile station in Tung Chung North Park for sampling. The sample tested positive yesterday. It was sent to the Public Health Laboratory Service of the Department of Health today and was confirmed to be a N501Y variant virus.
Dr.Lam also pointed out that compulsory testing orders will be issued for places where the confirmed case has visited.
Dr. AU Ka Wing from Centre for Health Protection said that the confirmed foreign domestic helper was living with the employer i.e. a couple who has a 10-month-old baby girl. The baby had also been diagnosed positive and the couple has preliminarily tested negative. The baby had diarrhea today.
During the incubation period, she also visited St. Thomas’ Apostle Church in Tsing Yi to participate in the morning worship and she was a lead singer in the choir on 11th, 18th and 25th April. The 14 choir members have been traced. A compulsory testing notice will be issued to require people who have stayed there on either 11th or 18th April (including visitors and workers), to undergo testing by 1st May. The CHP has also arranged compulsory quarantine for the close contacts who had attended church gathering with the foreign domestic helper, and has informed household members of close contacts to undergo compulsory testing in accordance with the compulsory testing notice. The CHP urged those who have completed the testing to avoid going out until the test result is ascertained.
The domestic helper visited Citygate Outlets on 25th April to order takeaway food and Fusion supermarket at Caribbean Coast (on 12th and 16th April). She also gathered with 2 other foreign domestic helpers at Man Tung Road Park Playground on 11th, 18th and 25th April. The other 2 foreign domestic helpers were also placed under quarantine.
The employer’s wife is a teacher who teaches Class 4B at Ling Liang Church Sau Tak Primary School in Tung Chung Ling Liang Church and her husband is a psychologist at Omni Mind Gym Group at Kelly Commercial Centre, 570-572 Nathan Road, Mong Kok. His last day of work was on 14th April and he returned to office on 16th April to retrieve some belongings. Students and colleagues from relevant school and Omni Mind Gym Group will be subject to quarantine. Locations where she visited i.e. The St. Thomas Apostle Church, Fu Tung Market , Man Tung Road Park Playground, Citygate outlets, and Fusion supermarket in Caribbean Coast will all be included in the mandatory testing announcement. During the domestic helper’s incubation period, relatives of the couple also visited them at home. They have been listed as close contacts and must undergo compulsory quarantine.
The Centre for Health Protection said that those who visited St. Thomas’ Apostle Church in Tsing Yi on 11th and 18th April, Fu Tung Plaza in Tung Chung from 9th to 29th April, Man Tung Road Park Playground on 11th 18th and 25th April, Citygate outlets on 25th April and Fusion supermarket in Caribbean Coast on 12th and 16th April 12 to do tests on 1st, 7th , 14th , and 21st day. The Department of Health stated that the confirmed case today and the Filipino person who was infected with the variant virus earlier (Case No. 11730) are domestic helpers. The authorities urge employers to remind domestic helpers to avoid gatherings, sharing food and other social activities. The authorities also urge employers to pay attention to the physical condition of domestic helpers and seek medical advice immediately if they develop symptoms.
The infected foreign domestic helper arrived in Hong Kong in 2019 and has no travel history. She was infected in the local community.
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”) at Tower 11, Carmel Cove, Caribbean Coast, 1 Kin Tung Road, Tung Chung 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 area have undergone testing and the test results are mostly ascertained. The Government aims at finishing this exercise at about 7am tomorrow.
A resident said that blocks and 11 and 12 at Carribean Coast can be accessed from the same doorway, and he is concerned about the new mutant case detected.
As today’s positive case and the confirmed case (Case No. 11730) involving N501Y mutant strain earlier are both domestic helpers, the CHP urged employers to remind their domestic helpers to avoid gatherings, food sharing and other social activities. If they have to attend gatherings, they should wear a mask at all times, wash their hands frequently and maintain social distancing so as to safeguard their personal health. Employers are also urged to pay attention to the health condition of their domestic helpers and they should seek medical attention immediately if symptoms develop.
The CHP said that as there is a locally infected case of COVID-19 with unknown source involving N501Y mutant strain, it is imperative for people to get vaccinated. As the Government has launched the COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, the CHP appeals to members of the public to get vaccinated as early as possible to protect themselves and others. Details of the programme can be found at the designated website (www.covidvaccine.gov.hk).