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5 Indonesian DHs test positive for Covid-19, triggers airline ban

01 June 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

The ban on Garuda Indonesia will last from Jun 2 to 15

Indonesia’s flag carrier, Garuda Indonesia, has been suspended from flying to Hong Kong for 14 days starting Jun 2,  after four of its passengers tested positive for Covid-19 on arrival in the city on May 30. The airline ban is imposed if at least three passengers on board are found infected on arrival tests.

Three of the four Garuda passengers, all domestic helpers, were also found to carry the N501Y variant, while a test on the fourth is still pending, according to staff of the Centre for Health Protection. The Indonesians are aged 27, 34, 37 and 39.

A fifth Indonesian DH, aged 29, who flew in separately on May 28 aboard Cathay Pacific flight CX 2780 also tested positive for the coronavirus disease during quarantine at Metropark Hotel in Kowloon. She was found to carry the newly listed variant of concern, L452Y, said the CHP staff.

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Indonesia now faces the risk of being categorized as an “extremely high risk” place and subject to a flight ban, which is triggered when a total of five people flying in from one place within a seven-day period are found to carry the mutant virus on arrival in Hong Kong.

It also takes effect when a total of 10 travelers from the same place are found to carry a variant, either on arrival or during quarantine, within the same week-long period.

The five Indonesian DHs were among seven new Covid-19 cases reported today, all but one of them imported.


Rounding up the six imported cases today is a 55-year-old female traveler from United Arab Emirates who tested positive after developing symptoms on May 30 while under quarantine at Mandarin Hotel Landmark. She was also found to carry the L452Y variant.

Chuang says the police officer was found to be highly infectious in his first sample, but tested negative later

The sole local case is a 35-year-old police officer assigned to the Wan Chai Police headquarters who was reported as preliminary positive yesterday. The source of his infection is unknown.


His case ended Hong Kong’s 38-day record of no untraceable Covid-19 case.

The case has triggered concern because his first specimen sample submitted to a private clinic showed he had a high viral load, but repeat tests at the hospital did not detect any sign of the virus, or antibodies suggesting an old infection.

According to CHP’s Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan, the patient’s family members all tested negative for the virus.

“For the time being, we will consider this as a local case with no unknown source,” Chuang said.

She declined to speculate on whether the case is another false positive one, like in at least two previous cases where environmental contamination was found to have been behind the false reading.

One worked in a laboratory that processed test results for Covid-19 while the other was a nurse who helped administer the Sinovac jabs in a community vaccination centre.

“For this particular case we have no further explanation,” Chuang said.

The officer reportedly developed cough and sore throat while at home in Yau Tong on Friday, so he sought medical treatment at a private clinic the next day. The sample taken by the clinic from him showed a very low CT value, meaning he was highly infectious.

During the incubation period he accompanied arrested persons to the Wan Chai police station on May 21, and on the 24th and 28th, took suspected illegal immigrants to the Lai Chi Kok Detention Centre.

Chuang said the officer’s case indicates that there is still a silent transmission that is going on.

“Hopefully, this will not cause further spread in the community,” she said.

The seven new cases took Hong Kong’s total tally to 11,849.

About five preliminary positive cases have been recorded as of midnight last night.


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