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Another Filipina DH found with variant after ending hotel quarantine

04 May 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao 

Block R of Allway Gardens will be evacuated while other residents will be tested

Hundreds of residents of Allway Gardens  in Tsuen Wan are to be moved to a quarantine center after a Filipina domestic helper who lives there with her employer has been found to carry the N501Y variant of the coronavirus.

The 48-year-old helper whose case has classified as a “suspected local” was among four new confirmed infections today, May 5. She had moved in with her employers on Apr 20 after finishing her 21-day quarantine at Dorsett Hotel in Wanchai where all her tests showed a negative result.

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The three others were classified as imported, including a pregnant Indian woman who had gone home to Beauty Mansion at 69-71A Kimberley Road in Tsim Sha Tsui after testing negative for Covid-19 while in quarantine at Regal Oriental Hotel in Kowloon.

Forty flats in Beauty Mansion were evacuated early this morning following the discovery of the Indian woman’s case.

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At today’s press briefing, health officials expressed concern about the cases of the two women, who both carried the highly infectious variant.  They fear the patients had transmitted the virus to others in the community because their infections were not detected early enough.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said that after finishing her hotel quarantine, the Filipina helper went to a clinic on Apr 21 for a body check, then proceeded to the eighth floor of the Immigration Tower in Wan Chai to apply for a HK ID card.


She then joined her employers in Block R of Allway Gardens in Tsuen Wan.

The government put the residential estate under a lockdown overnight so everyone living there could undergo testing. All residents of the affected block will then be sent to quarantine.

Chuang says there are signs the Filipina was infected even before coming to HK

Chuang said the Filipina mostly took her employers’ child to the Anunciation Catholic Kindergarten, the wet market and Wellcome supermarket in Allway Gardens; as well as to a piano studio called Tin Wan. She also took the children to the Discovery Park mall for shopping and to play.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

The helper took a Covid-19 test on May 2 in compliance with compulsory testing for all FDHs in the territory, and the result was indeterminate. But upon verification it came out positive with a very high CT value, Chuang said.

In hospital, she was given a nasal swab test which yielded no traces of the virus, but her deep throat sample that was tested at CHP laboratory was later found positive with the variant.

Chuang said that because of the Filipina having N501Y, her travel history and the presence of antibodies in her body, the patient could not be ruled out as an imported case.

But at the moment she is a suspected local case because she has been in the community for some time. Authorities are currently doing contact tracing to see whether the source of her infection is local. 

This is the second time that a Filipina DH was found to carry the mutated virus days after ending her hotel quarantine, and moving in with her employer. The first one was a 38-year-old whose infection led to the quarantine of all residents of the posh building her employers live in on Kennedy Road, Mid-Levels.

The 28-year-old Indian woman, on the other hand, arrived on Apr 4 on board the virus- plagued UK 6395 flight operated by Vistara Airlines. CHP records show 57 other passengers on that flight have tested positive for Covid-19.

The woman ended her quarantine on Apr 25, and moved to the home she shares with family members in Beauty Mansion.

Chuang said the woman mostly stayed at home but went to see a doctor at Queen Elizabeth Hospital on Apr 26 for a test. The result was negative.

She went for a test again at a community testing centre on Apr 30, in compliance with a mandatory testing order, and the result was unverified so her samples were tested by the CHP laboratory.

“Yesterday, she tested positive for N501Y. As a precaution, other residents of Beauty Mansion had been sent to the quarantine center. They are regarded as close contacts and will be put under observation,” Chuang said. 

CHP reports 77 residents of the building have been sent to quarantine. Residents of six other units are still being tracked down by police.

“Probably she was infected in India of upon arrival in Hong Kong due to the amount of antibodies found in her samples, so we regard this case as an imported case,” Chuang said, adding that the case was not connected with previous cases in Regal Oriental.

The two other imported cases are Indonesian domestic helpers who arrived on separate days.

The first, who is 34 years old, flew in via Garuda Flight 876 from Jakarta on Sunday and was found positive at the airport.

The other Indonesian, aged 40, arrived on a GA876 flight on Mar 26 and tested positive on her seventh day of hotel quarantine.
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