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1 Indonesian DH tests positive, another is preliminary case

22 May 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

Chuang says the confirmed Indonesian DH was infected before she ended her quarantine

An Indonesian woman who had just moved in with her employer after completing her 21-day hotel quarantine has been detected to have Covid-19 in the second round of compulsory testing for foreign domestic helpers.

According to Dr Chuang Shuk-Kwan of the Centre for Health Protection, the Indonesian helper’s case is classified as “local so far” but it may be treated as imported later, depending on whether anyone in her employer’s household or any close contacts will also test positive.


If her case is classified as imported, today would be the seventh straight day that no new local case has been reported.

However, another Indonesian domestic worker has tested preliminary positive, and Dr Chuang said that if confirmed, this case would definitely be a local case as the 39-year-old woman had been in Hong Kong for awhile. 

Pindutin para sa detalye

The confirmed helper, who is 29 years old, arrived in Hong Kong on Apr 25 via flight GAA 766 direct from Indonesia.

She stayed in a hotel in Sai Ying Pun and after her quarantine ended on May 16, went straight to a medical clinic in Mong Kok for a check-up, then on to her employment agency in Sai Kung. All the Covid-19 tests she took until then all came out negative.

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The helper then went on to join her employer in Tower 5A in Cullinan West, Sham Shui Po. She mostly stayed at home, except when she had to take a dog out for a walk. 

On May 20 she took another coronavirus test at the Pak Tin testing center in compliance with the compulsory testing order for all FDHs, and was found preliminary positive. A confirmatory test processed at the CHP laboratory also came out positive.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Chuang said the patient had a “very high CT value” of 38 in the initial test, and over 30 in the confirmatory test, suggesting an old infection.

Another test on her immunoglobulin or antibody levels reportedly showed she had been infected for at least 10 days previously.


Thus, Chuang said it was not likely the helper acquired her infection after her quarantine. She could have been infected in Indonesia, on the plane, the airport, or her quarantine hotel. 

She said checks on the flight the patient had taken showed three other passengers who also tested positive after arriving in Hong Kong.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love

“On the same plane, we found three other infected passengers but they were not seated next to each other,” said Chuang. 

Staff at the hotel where she had stayed for quarantine all tested negative on May 18.

Chuang said the only way the helper could have acquired the infection from within Hong Kong is if any of her 18 close contacts - including her employer’s family members, two other household staff, agency staff and two fellow FDHs – is found to also carry the virus.

Both infections were discovered during the 2nd round of compulsory testing for FDHs

She disclosed there were three to four preliminary cases found today, including the helper who arrived on Feb 20 on board flight GA 766 from Indonesia via Singapore.

After leaving her quarantine hotel the helper moved in with her new employer at Block B of Earl Garden in Kowloon Tong.

After about two months, she was apparently terminated, so she moved into an employment agency's shelter in Block B of Bell's House in Yau Ma Tei, where she stayed from May 19 to 22. 

On May 4 she got herself tested for Covid-19 during the first round of compulsory testing for all FDHs, and had a negative result.

Yesterday, in preparation for her return to Indonesia she had another test at the Pak Tin testing center in Sham Shui Po, and was found preliminary positive.

Chuang said the helper went to the Immigration Department offices on May 7 and 10.

“We are still ascertaining if there were other activities involved,” she said. “If confirmed, this will be a local infection.”

She also said the case would be classified as unlinked, the first since a week ago, when a four-year-old boy whose source of infection is still being investigated, was reported.

Chuang said achieving zero local infection is difficult because there had been quite a number of asymptomatic people in the past who could have spread the virus. 

She also said the virus is here to stay. 

“Now with the vaccine, vaccination is the only way,” she said. “Vaccine is available now, I don’t know what people are waiting for.”

Chuang also said Hong Kong has suspended quarantine-free entry for travelers from Guangdong due to a recently confirmed case in its Liwan district.

She said residents coming back to Hong Kong from Guangdong starting tomorrow will have to undergo the 14-day hotel quarantine required of all vaccinated travelers coming from a place designated as "medium risk."

Those who haven't been fully vaccinated will have to quarantine for 21 days.

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