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CE Lam says gathering rules can't be relaxed because of variant cases

08 June 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap 

CE Lam says it is not right to relax restrictions because of the 3 variant cases with unknown source 

Chief Executive Carrie Lam has dashed hopes that stringent gathering restrictions which are due to lapse on Thursday will be relaxed, citing the recent case of a mother and two of her daughters found to be carrying the more infectious coronavirus variant.

Speaking ahead of the Executive Council meeting earlier today, Jun 8, the CE said “it does not seem to be the appropriate time to relax the social distancing measures.”

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Lam added further details will be announced by the Secretary of Food and Health later.

She made the announcement a few hours before the Centre for Health Protection announced three new Covid-19 cases, all of them imported.


Two are returning residents from Colombia and both tested positive for N501Y variant on arrival in Hong Kong on Jun 6 aboard flight KL 819. One is a 19-year-old male and the other is a 22-year-old female.

The third is a 42-year-old domestic helper from Indonesia who tested positive on her third-day sample while in hotel quarantine. She does not carry a variant.


The Chief Executive said it was unfortunate that Hong Kong’s record of 30 days without a case with unknown source was broken when a 17-year-old girl who does not have a recent travel history was found to carry the N501Y variant last Friday.

On two successive days afterwards, her mother and older sister were also found infected with the so-called Alpha variant first found in the United Kingdom.

Until their infections were discovered, the UK variant was never seen in any local case.

Lam said that since Hong Kong has never been identified as the source of a variant, then the source of their infection must have been an imported case that was not detected on time.

The CE said 140 of the three patients’ close contacts have been moved to quarantine, while 850 of their fellow residents in a Tin Shui Wai Building were placed under a lockdown and tested.


A total of 32 places they had visited have been put under compulsory testing notice.

The three patients have not been vaccinated so they exposed themselves and all the people around them to the risk of catching the highly infectious variant, said the CE, who then renewed an appeal for all residents to get the coronavirus vaccine.

The CE says the variant cases must have an imported source 

“What we have to do is to get vaccinated. Only when we have achieved herd immunity (can) we tackle these what may be inevitably missed imported cases,” Lam said.

She said the latest figures show that 1.55 million, or nearly 24% of all residents eligible to take the jab have taken their first dose.

“The number is increasing, so this is good,” she said adding that she hopes that by the end of August (when the community vaccination centres are due to close), there would have been a “more desirable percentage” of people who have taken the jab.


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