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Filipina DH found with variant 5 days after quarantine

23 April 2021

By Daisy C L Mandap 

The Filipina spent her quarantine at Ramada in Sai Ying Pun

A Filipina domestic helper who had moved in with her employer on Kennedy Road in Mid-Levels after finishing her 21-day quarantine on Apr 17 has been found to carry the coronavirus variant, according to the Centre for Health Protection.

She is the fourth person in the community to have been found with the highly infectious N501Y variant.


CHP’s Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan said that as in two similar cases found previously, there was a possibility that the helper was infected after arriving in Hong Kong, possibly during her hotel quarantine.

A check into the records of Ramada Seaview Hotel in Sai Ying Pun where she stayed showed that when she was there, she was next to a family of three, who were later found to carry the mutated strain.


Chuang said investigators are looking into the possibility of a cross infection at the hotel.

In the first local variant case, an Indian man who tested positive for the South African variant was found to have quarantined on the same floor of Ramada Grand Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui as two FDHs who were found to carry the mutant strain.

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Similarly, an Indonesian DH who stayed at the hotel at the same time but on a different floor, was confirmed to have the variant on Apr 20, two days after submitting to compulsory testing following the discovery of the Indian man’s case.

The third case involves the Indian man’s Hong Kong-based girlfriend with whom he stayed in a Jordan flat after being released from quarantine.

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As in the two newly arrived patients, Chuang said there were other possibilities as to how the Filipina helper got infected.

“Either she’s an imported case but was not picked up during the quarantine, or she acquired the infection during the quarantine period…or while staying with the employer’s family,” she said.

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After being released from her quarantine on Apr 17, the Filipina helper moved in with her employer who lives with family members, as well as two other FDHs.

On Apr 19 she went for a body check at Melbourne Plaza in Central, and also to her employment agency, as well as the Hong Kong Immigration Department.


Yesterday, Apr 22, she was sent to the Leighton Community Center to get herself tested for Covid-19 again, and the result was positive.

As a precaution, her employer’s family and the two other helpers have been moved to a quarantine center. Also sent there were the guests of Ramada SYP who had stayed on the same floor as she during her quarantine.

Chuang said other people she had close contact with, either at the agency or the clinic, would also be sent to quarantine.

The helper was one of two preliminary cases reported today. The other one is a male driver at the Home Affairs office in Sai Kung who lives with his family in Tseung Kwan O. His source of infection is also unknown.

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The man was found to have visited Physical Fitness and Yoga in TKO  at exactly the same date and time as a woman who was found infected previously, leading to concerns of another gym outbreak similar to what happened at Ursus Fitness last month.

The man was at Physical at the same time as a woman found infected earlier

An additional nine cases were reported, eight of them imported. The source of infection of the only local case is unknown.

Among the imported cases, three carried the variant, including two Filipina domestic workers who flew in on Cebu Pacific flight 5J272 on two separate dates, Apr 10 and 11, and tested positive while in quarantine.

Another Filipina DH who took the same flight on Apr 13 developed a runny nose while in quarantine, and tested positive after being taken to hospital.

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The third patient found to have the variant is a passenger from the Netherlands who flew in via KLM flight 819.

A third FDH who tested positive while under quarantine came from Indonesia on Apr 17 via Cathay Pacific flight CX 918.

According to Chuang, the samples from one Filipina DH and the lone Indonesian helper were the only positive cases from among the 30 mistakenly classified as preliminary cases yesterday.

A cross contamination of the samples in the laboratory of BGI appeared to have resulted in 27 cases being wrongly declared as positive. The result for one case is still being awaited.

All the 27 patients had tested negative for the virus upon admission to hospital, as well as for antibodies. Chuang said that as a precaution, they will be tested again and if the results are negative, they will be released from hospital.

That means most of the 78 people moved to quarantine centers as a result of the wrong positive results will be released as well.

Meanwhile, the sole local case is a 23-year-old woman who lives in block 10 of South Horizons and works in Kwai Chung.  During the incubation period she frequented a Pacific Coffee outlet near her office.

She also went shopping at Festival Walk in Kowloon Tong with her family, and had meals with friends at Shanghai Lao Lao restaurant in South Horizons and Thai Basil in Admiralty.


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