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Dubai returnee contracts Covid variant

2021-04-17 HKT 17:52
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  • Dubai returnee contracts Covid variant
Local health authorities are scrambling to find out how a 29-year-old man who returned to Hong Kong from Dubai last month got infected with a highly infectious coronavirus variant.

It’s the first N501Y strain reported in the Hong Kong community.

The man tested negative for the virus as he underwent a 21-day quarantine at Ramada Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui from March 19 to April 8.

He stayed at a flat in Parkes Building in Jordan after completing his quarantine, and visited two banks on Nathan Road, as well as a number of restaurants at Chungking Mansions and Cheung Chau.

Although he didn’t have any symptoms, he recently took a test as he had planned to fly back to Dubai.

The Centre for Health Protection’s Chuang Shuk-kwan said officials are very concerned about the case as they have yet to ascertain whether he contracted the Covid-19 variant locally.

“He either had already got the infection in Dubai coupled with a long incubation period and those tests in the hotel couldn’t detect he’s infected. The other possibility is that he acquired the infection after arrival in Hong Kong, either in the flight, in the airport, in the hotel… these are all the possibilities that we have to examine,” she said.

“And the third possibility is that after quarantine he went to the community, so he might get the infection from the community.”

Officials have inspected the hotel where he was put under quarantine to see if the virus could be transmitted there.

Overall, the Centre for Health Protection reported 18 new coronavirus infections, eight of which are locally acquired.

Six of local cases are untraceable. Four of them are Tuen Mun residents, including an instructor, a cook, a taxi driver and a student.

There are also ten imported cases involving people who flew in from India, the Philippines and Indonesia.

Meanwhile, more than 20 other people have tested preliminary positive for the virus, including a kindergarten teacher.

Some 100 of her colleagues and students will be put under quarantine. As she had recently attended a wedding at a Tsim Sha Tsui restaurant, around 20 guests whom she had been in the same room with, will also be sent to quarantine.

Officials say most other preliminary positive cases are imported.