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6 new imported & 1 local case all have Delta variant

24 June 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

HK officials warn of the spread of the Delta variant, as 1 local case was confirmed today

Hong Kong health officials underscored the danger that the Delta coronavirus variant, could spread in the city when they announced at a press conference today, Jun 24, that all seven confirmed Covid-19 cases today carried the highly infectious mutation.

Among those in the list is a 27-year-old man living in Tai Po and worked as ground crew of Hong Kong Airlines, whose source of infection is unknown. He ended 16 days of no local infection being found in Hong Kong.

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But according to Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection, the remaining six cases which are all imported, were also found to have the L542R strain of the Delta variant.

Chuang said four of the patients are students who had just returned from the United Kingdom. Three tested positive on arrival at HK Airport, while the fourth who came in on Jun 18 via British Airways flight was found infected on the third-day sample.

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The two others are foreign domestic helpers who flew in from Jakarta on Jun 20 and tested positive on their third-day sample while in quarantine.

Passenger flights from Indonesia will be banned starting tomorrow after six FDHs who flew in from Jakarta on Monday were found to have the L452R mutant strain. Experts are also calling for halting flights from the UK anew, amid a renewed surge in infections in the country, largely because of the Delta variant.

Studies show BioNTech vaccine offers as much as 90% protection against the Delta variant

“The Delta variant is on the rise, and the World Health Organization says it may catch up and take over as the main variant (of concern),” said CHP controller Dr Ronald Lam.

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He said the variant is more transmissible and is likely to cause more serious complications. “Based on the UK experience, young and unvaccinated people are infected more easily,” he said.

The same is true in the United States, he said, where the variant is also on the rise because of its higher transmissibility.

In Hong Kong, there have been 131 cases with the L452R strain, and all except two are imported, he said. The genome sequencing on the latest local case could trace its origin, but the process has yet to be completed.

Lam renewed the call for everyone to get the Covid vaccine, citing various studies that show that those who get jabbed are likely to get as much as 90% protection from the variant.


Chuang said studies in the UK showed that BioNTech in particular gives protection against Delta “by as high as 91%,” while those with symptoms are found to get a protection rate of between 80 and 90%.

Lam took the opportunity to again call for more elderly people to get vaccinated, saying they are most vulnerable to developing symptoms from Covid-19. Of the 210 deaths linked to the disease, 88% percent reportedly involved people aged 60 and above.


He said that any elderly person who can take a flu jab should also be suitable for the Covid vaccine.

In the latest local case involving the Delta variant, health officials said he, along with the rest of his family, have not had a Covid vaccine.

But so far, no other member of his family has tested positive for the virus, including his father who developed a mild cough.

More than 2,000 neighbors of the local man with the variant tested negative for the virus 

An overnight lockdown on their residential building in Tai Po and the testing of some 2,100 residents did not yield any new infection.

A separate compulsory testing order issued on a wide area in Tai Po where around 30 buildings are located has yet to be completed.

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Samuel Chui, deputy director of the Environmental Planning Department, said that sewage samples taken from the area showed the presence of the variant with a CT value of 27, which means it is highly transmissible.

Chui said the local patient who lives in the same district did not appear to have acquired the variant from the contaminated sewage, but from other sources.

Chuang said he most likely got the virus from his interactions with people at the airport, although the exact source has yet to be uncovered.

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