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Filipina mum raises variant cluster linked to Indian returnee to 8

07 May 2021

By Daisy C L Mandap 

No new cases were found during an overnight lockdown of the
Chai Wan block where the woman lives (RTHK)

The mother of the Filipina girlfriend of the Indian returnee from Dubai has been found to carry the coronavirus variant, raising the number of infections from this cluster to eight.

The 67-year-old woman who lives alone in a flat in Fung Hing House in Chai Wan was among three new Covid-19 cases reported today, May 7.


Another case is that of a 29-year-old male staff of BGI laboratories who tested positive for Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated.

The third case involves a 22-year-old Indonesian domestic helper who was cleared of coronavirus during her 21-day hotel quarantine which ended on Apr 24, but was found infected after complying with compulsory testing on May 5.

Pindutin para sa detalye

According to Dr Albert Au in today’s Health Department press briefing, the elderly woman was classified as a close contact of her daughter and her Indian boyfriend on May 5, after it emerged that they all had a dinner party at her Chai Wan home on Apr 13.

The woman had a slight fever so she was sent to hospital, where she was found to carry the South African variant similar to that found in her daughter and the Indian resident.

Pindutin para sa detalye

Apart from them, also linked to this cluster are three Filipina domestic helpers who all attended a gathering in a Sham Shui Po flat where the woman's son, wife and grandson live.

The two other linked cases are the female employer and 10-month-old ward of one of the Filipina helpers, who all live together in Caribbean Coast, Tung Chung.

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Au said all the people who attended the gatherings in both houses, and about 20 others  who joined the woman’s son in parties at Deep Water Bay on Apr 25 and May 1, have been quarantined and tested.

The Centre for Health Protection specialist said the test results on all these close contacts are expected to be released by tonight.


Asked why the index case in the cluster and his girlfriend did not immediately disclose their whereabouts during the incubation period, including being at the Chai Wan party, Au said they might have forgotten.

But he said investigators are looking into whether the two had deliberately concealed their whereabouts, and will take action if necessary.

“If we find out that there is deliberate concealment, we will take action,” he said.

Au says CHP will take action if the infected couple is found to have deliberately concealed information

Soon after the Indian returnee was reported in mid-April as the first local case with the mutant virus, the Jordan flat he shared with his girlfriend was locked down and all residents taken away for 21-day quarantine.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

When interviewed for contact tracing, the man said he did not go out much between the time he ended his hotel quarantine on Apr 9 and when his infection was discovered. He named two bank branches in Jordan and a restaurant in Cheung Chau as the places he visited.

But after the Tung Chung helper was found infected, the man and his girlfriend revealed more details, saying they had gone to Citygate Outlet mall and a curry place in the area, as well as a second restaurant in Discovery Bay.

Their attendance at the Chai Wan party came out after the two other helpers, one living in Kornhill Garden, and another in Pokfulam, were found infected after they complied with mandatory testing on May 2.

Meanwhile, Au said the Indonesian helper’s case was classified as imported after further tests on her showed her viral load was “very, very low,” indicating she was a recovered patient.

“The clinical picture is more compatible with a previous infection,” said Au.

Moreover, she mainly stayed at her employer’s village house in Taipo after being released from hotel quarantine on Apr 24. However, she did go to a clinic for a body check and to the Immigration office to apply for an identity document.

Three immigration officers who attended to her have been quarantined, as well as five family members of her employer.

The BioNTech vaccine is believed to have protected the man from Covid symptoms

Equally baffling was the case of the BGI staff, whose source of infection is unknown, and was found to have a very low viral load.

Au said this must have been due to him having taken two BioNTech jabs on Mar 20 and Apr 10, and should have received full protection 14 days after.

“Because the vaccine offered protection to him, even after he caught the infection, he did not develop any symptoms and the virus shedding was very minimal. That means the vaccine had been effective,” Au said.

So far, he said the CHP has found no evidence of sample contamination in BGI, a mainland firm contracted to do Covid-19 testing in Hong Kong.

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