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Variant cluster grows to 9 while Filipina DH tests positive at end of quarantine

12 May 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap

The sole imported case flew in a day before a flight ban on the Philippines took effect

Another confirmed case has been added to the cluster of infections linked to an Indian returnee from Dubai found to be carrying the South African variant of the coronavirus.

The 42-year-old man who was only one of two cases reported today, May 12, became the ninth person to be linked to the cluster, and served as the bridge to cross-infections that happened between two households.

However, tests to find out if he is also a carrier of the N501Y variant are still pending.


The other one is a Filipina domestic helper who arrived via Cebu Pacific 5J272 on Apr 19, just a day before Hong Kong imposed a ban on all flights coming from the Philippines.

Staff at the Centre for Health Protection said the Filipina helper tested positive on May 11, which meant she was tested on the day she was due to end her 21-day hotel quarantine.

She was not found to carry the mutant virus.

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Meanwhile, the CHP staff confirmed that the only linked local case (No 11815) is the brother of the Indian man’s Filipina girlfriend, who also tested positive for the variant earlier.

A close contact of today’s case was reported yesterday as having tested positive for immunoglobulin G, indicating she had been recently infected with Covid-19. CHP said further tests on the antibody-carrying woman are still ongoing.

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A statement released by CHP said today’s case and his close contact had attended a family gathering on Apr 13 at the Hing Wah Estate flat in Chai Wan where the man’s mother lives. Also at the party was the Indian man (case no 11643) and his girlfriend (11672).

Fung Hing House in Chai Wan was evacuated after details of the family gathering emerged

“Case 11815 and his household contact subsequently attended another gathering at 37 Fuk Wing Street in Sham Shui Po on April 18, which was also attended by three cases involving the N501Y mutant strain confirmed earlier, i.e. cases 11773, 11793 and 11797,” said the statement.


The three latter cases were the three Filipina domestic helpers living in various districts who were all found subsequently to carry the variant.

The cluster has now grown to include, not just the two index patients, but also the three Filipina helpers, the girlfriend’s mother and brother, and the employer and baby ward of one of the helpers.

The helpers’ cases, initially classified as from unknown sources, led to the evacuation and transfer to quarantine facilities of about 2,000 residents in the buildings where they lived.

Tunghayan ang isa na namang kwentong Dream Love.

It also prompted the Hong Kong government to order all 370,000 FDHs in the city to get tested from May 1-9. A second round of testing is due to start on Saturday, May 15, and last until May 30.

All those who were released after investigations revealed the cases were linked, have been reminded that they will be subject to compulsory testing on days 3, 7, 12 and 19 after the announcement of the relevant confirmed cases.

They will also be required to undergo self-monitoring until the 21st day.


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