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2 Filipina DHs found with variant on arrival, triggers likely flight ban

17 April 2021

 By Daisy CL Mandap

The 2 FDHs found with the variant took Cebu Pacific flight 5J 272

Two Filipina domestic helpers who were found infected with Covid-19 on arrival in Hong Kong on Apr 15 and also carried the highly infectious variant, raised the possibility of a two-week  suspension being imposed on all flights from the Philippines within days.

They were among 18 additional Covid-19 cases reported today, Apr. 17, which included 10 imported and six local infections.


Under more stringent restrictions that took effect on Wednesday, Apr 14, all flights from a place would be stopped for a fortnight if a cumulative number of five passengers from there are found to carry the N501Y variant on arrival in Hong Kong within a seven-day period.

The ban is triggered even if the passengers came from different flights, but does not apply when the infected passengers are found infected while under quarantine.


In addition, the country is raised to the “extremely high risk” category, which apart from the temporary flight ban, would also cover those who had stayed there for at least two hours, even while in transit from another place.

The Filipinas, aged 28 and 29, flew in on board Cebu Pacific flight 5J 272, and were asymptomatic. They were the only imported cases reported to have the variant, known to be 70 times more infections than the common strain of the virus.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Seven of the imported cases were returning residents from India, while the 10th is an Indonesian domestic helper who tested positive on her 19th day in hotel quarantine.

Two of the Indian returnees arrived on Apr 15 aboard flight QR 818, and tested positive at the airport.

The other five all flew in on Apr 4 aboard flight UK 6395, which is already under a two-week suspension over an earlier infraction.

Pindutin para sa detalye

A government statement released today said KLM’s Flight 819 from Amsterdam has also been added to the list of suspended routes. 

The ban, which will last from tomorrow until May 1, was imposed after a passenger on the KLM flight on Apr 13 tested positive on arrival in Hong Kong, while another passenger failed to comply with pre-flight requirements.

Chuang says the 6 local cases with unknown sources cause concern

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan from the Centre for Health Protection said that of the eight local cases, six are a cause for concern as their sources of infection are unknown. 

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They included a 29-year-old Indian man who flew in from Dubai and circulated in the community after completing his 21-day hotel quarantine on Apr 8.

The four other patients live in Tuen Mun, prompting Chuang to agree that there seems to be an unseen community transmission going on in the district. The cases are from different sectors, including a cook, an instructor, a taxi driver and a student.


The sixth untraceable case is a 66-year-old man working as road maintenance staff and lives in Ngau Tau Kok.

Chuang said there were more than 20 preliminary cases, mostly imported.

But they also include 31-year-old kindergarten teacher who caused 100 people to be sent to quarantine, including her young students.

The woman whose source of infection is unknown, went to a variety of places during the incubation period, including Disneyland, a gym where she had Muay Thai classes, and a wedding banquet in Tsim Sha Tsui where there were around 200 guests.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong 

Health officials say they are investigating whether the social distancing restrictions were violated by those who organized the big wedding reception.


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