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Mother of teenage girl with UK variant tests preliminary positive

05 June 2021

By Daisy CL Mandap

No one among 850 people tested at the Tin Shui Wai block where the girl lives, was found infected

Hong Kong health authorities have quarantined more than 100 people for the next 21 days after the mother of a 17-year-old girl who was confirmed today, Jun 5, to be a carrier of the coronavirus variant first detected in the United Kingdom, also tested preliminary positive.

Dr Chuang Shuk-kwan of the Centre for Health Protection said at today’s press briefing that both mother and daughter were found to have a heavy viral load, so it was not clear who infected who.

“The CT value is between 16 to 19, meaning it’s a recent case, so it’s hard to tell who got infected first,” said Chuang.

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She also said it was possible that they’re linked to an imported case, although health authorities have yet to establish the source of their infection.

“We’re worried because the two patients have gone to various places and it is a mutant strain. It may be more infectious,” Chuang said.

“We will quarantine even those who were not considered as close contacts before because we’re not sure they’re transmitters,” she said.

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The girl whose infection was confirmed last night through a second test processed by the Department of Health’s laboratory, studies in a secondary school in Tin Shui Wai and has attended tutorial classes in Tuen Mun.

On May 29, she visited the Hong Kong International Education Expo in Wanchai, and visited a jewelry store nearby.

Her mother visited far more places during the incubation period, including a food court, supermarket, law firm, elderly home, government office, public library, hospital and a cemetery.

All these places will be put under a compulsory testing notice while their close contacts will be moved to quarantine centers.

Last night, the Tin Shui Wai housing block where the girl lives with her mother and other family members was locked down but no one among the 850 residents who were tested was found positive for the coronavirus.

The girl’s infection was detected after she developed fever, runny nose, headache and loss of smell on June 2. She went for a test at the Tin Shui Wai Community Health Centre the next day and was found preliminary positive.


She was taken to Tuen Mun Hospital where further tests showed she had the mutated strain of the coronavirus, and carried a heavy viral load.

Her infection ended 42 days of no untraceable case being found in Hong Kong. She is also on record as the first local patient whose variant infection has yet to be traced to an outside source.

“This is the first N501Y strain case with untraceable source of infection so we will therefore take the most stringent control measures, said CHP controller Dr Ronald Lam.

CHP chief says the variant cases highlight the need to get more people vaccinated

He also said the cases highlighted the importance of boosting Hong Kong’s vaccination rate as neither mother nor daughter had taken the coronavirus jab.

“The current vaccination rate in Hong Kong is still low, so that’s the reason why we need to boost the vaccination uptake as soon as possible so we can obtain herd immunity,” said Lam.

Despite having one of the strictest entry restrictions for incoming travelers, he said there is still a chance that mutated strains of the coronavirus could leak into the community from abroad.

He cited the “frightening situation” in India and Taiwan, where the mutant virus has caused an unprecedented surge in infections.

Hong Kong now has a total of 11,851 coronavirus cases, after today’s newly confirmed case. There are about 10 preliminary positive cases.

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