24th November 2021 – (Hong Kong) Quarantined persons at Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong cross-infected each other earlier.
The patient zero was wearing respirator mask with valves (commonly known as selfish masks) which failed to effectively stop the virus. This was suspected to be the cause of the spread of the virus. Because this type of mask cannot effectively filter the exhaled droplets. If the wearer is infected with the virus, it may increase the risk of infection for nearby persons around the patient.
To further prevent the transmission of COVID-19, the Government issued today directions under the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) to stipulate that a person under compulsory quarantine at a designated quarantine hotel (DQH) and his or her accompanying carer must not wear a mask with any exhalation valve or vent.
During an earlier investigation of two confirmed cases, the Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health noted that a person concerned who was under compulsory quarantine at a DQH might have transmitted the virus to others because he was wearing a mask with exhalation valve or vent while his hotel room door was opened.
The CHP strongly advised the public against wearing masks with any exhalation valve or vent as these masks cannot effectively filter droplets in exhaled air. The risk posed to surrounding people will be increased if the wearer is infected with novel coronavirus or other respiratory viruses. To avoid similar situation from recurring, the Government has updated the directions under Cap. 599F to stipulate that a person under compulsory quarantine at a DQH and his or her accompanying carer must not wear a mask with any exhalation valve or vent. The CHP advised that the relevant persons should wear surgical masks properly during check-in or when the hotel room door is opened during the quarantine period in order to effectively prevent the transmission of COVID-19.
The CHP has also updated the relevant infection control guidelines to advise hotel staff and air crew to remind guests and passengers respectively not to use masks with any exhalation valve or vent.
The government today instructed that persons under compulsory quarantine at designated quarantine hotels and their caregivers should not wear masks with valves.