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Nepal Air flights suspended after 6 passengers test positive on arrival

05 October 2020

 By The SUN 

Nepal Air has been barred from flying to HK until Oct 17

Eleven new confirmed cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Hong Kong today, Oct 5. Among these were seven imported cases, six of whom had just flown in on the same Nepal Airlines flight.

This prompted Hong Kong health authorities to stop the airline from flying into the city for two weeks, or from Oct 4 to 17.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said the authorities couldn’t tell why there were so many infected passengers on the flight from Nepal, so they decided to sanction the airline, similar to what was done with Air India previously.

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Nepal and India are both classified as high risk countries for the coronavirus, so all passengers traveling from both places must produce a negative result for a swab test for Covid-19 before being allowed to depart for Hong Kong.

The other imported case was a returnee from India who flew in via Dubai.

Among the four local cases was a 38-year-old female visitor from Thailand who arrived in mid-March. Another Thai woman who  previously lived with her tested preliminary positive.

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Including the two, four women from Thailand have tested positive or preliminary positive since Oct. 1.

The first case in the cluster was a tourist who also arrived in mid-March and had moved to three different lodging houses in Kowloon before being found infected.

The second was a 27-year-old Thai female resident who was found infected yesterday. During contact tracing, the housewife said she had gone shopping in Tsim Sha Tsui with a compatriot who tested positive on her return to Thailand.

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Today, Chuang said the housewife was found to have lied because the friend she had shopped with was staying in a hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui with four other Thais. This friend was the 35-year-old who tested preliminary positive yesterday.

Chuang said health officials are considering whether or not to prosecute the housewife under quarantine regulations for being dishonest. This was after Hong Kong health authorities had contacted their counterparts in Thailand to get more information on the patient’s friend who, it turned out, never left.

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The rise in the number of Thai nationals getting infected has caused concern.

“We are worried about a possible spread among the Thai community during their gatherings, so we are liaising with the Thai consulate hoping they can help distribute bottles [for virus tests] to its nationals,” said Dr Chuang.

Separately, officials have continued to track down patrons and staff of the China Secret bar in Tsim Sha Tsui, which a 22-year-old student had visited before testing positive on Saturday.

The Thai Consulate is being asked to help distribute specimen bottles to its nationals in HK


The female tourist from Thailand who tested positive on Thursday had also reportedly visited the bar, although Chuang said the information has yet to be verified.

Four staff and seven customers of the bar have been located so far, and most have been put under quarantine. CHP said it was looking for two more people who had been there at relevant times.

The new cases pushed the total tally in Hong Kong to 5,124 with 105 related deaths.

Of the four local cases, only one was classified as untraceable. The patient is a 46-year-old female clerk who lives in Tsing Yi and works in Kwai Chung.

According to Chuang, the clerk did not go out often, but on Sept 25, a day after developing a cough, she had a buffet meal at Gateway Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. The woman said she wore a mask while getting food.

Dr Lau Ka-hin, chief manager of the Hospital Authority, said 117 confirmed cases are still undergoing treatment at 17 public hospitals. Among these, 11 are in critical condition, eight are stable, and the remaining 98 are in stable condition.

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