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No new infection in HK as variant cluster continues to baffle experts

13 June 2021

By Vir B. Lumicao

850 other residents of the Tin Shui Wai block where the variant patients live have tested negative

Hong Kong reported no new coronavirus case today, Jun 13, but continues to watch fewer than five preliminary positive, mostly imported cases. 

This is the sixth day that Hong Kong has not recorded a local case since June 7, when a 20-year-old female student was confirmed to carry the mutant strain of the coronavirus, the third member of her family to be found with the variant whose source remains unknown.

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The Centre for Health Protection said there are now 11,877 confirmed cases in Hong Kong.

The Hospital Authority said as at 9am today, 39 confirmed patients were being treated in 13 public hospitals and the North Lantau Hospital Hong Kong Infection Control Centre. One of them is in critical condition, another is serious and the remaining 37 patients are stable.


A total of 40 cases have been reported in the past 14 days starting May 30, including the two sisters and their mother, all carriers of the N501Y variant, who live together in Tin Shui Wai.

The cluster was uncovered after the index patient, a 17-year-old female student, developed symptoms and was found infected after going to a community testing centre.


No other person outside of their family has been found to carry the so-called Alpha strain of the virus first found in the United Kingdom.

Hui says the source of the family's infection most likely came from abroad

David Hui, an infectious disease expert from the Chinese University, told media people on Saturday that officials were still struggling to find the source of the girl’s highly communicable infection that snapped 42 days of no untraceable cases in the city.

Hui, who advises the government on its anti-Covid 19 campaign, said it was unlikely this case involves an undiscovered mutated strain from Hong Kong.


 “I think it’s probably someone that has entered Hong Kong and finished the 21-day hotel quarantine with a long incubation period and then he or she developed some infection, and infected the 17-year-old girl,” Hui was quoted by RTHK as saying.

Local experts who matched the girl’s genome sequencing pattern with other cases have failed to find the infection source.

They said this was probably due to some developing countries not doing genome sequencing frequently, thus not uploading information to the World Health Organization and other websites that would make tracing of infection source easier.

Meanwhile, the CHP reminded those who had visited specified venues under the Prevention and Control of Disease Regulation (Cap. 599J) to receive Covid-19 nucleic acid testing according to the compulsory testing notice.

The regulation requires all household members of close contacts of confirmed cases to undergo a Covid-19 nucleic acid test within a specified period published in the Gazette. Members of the public are also urged to seek medical attention early if symptoms develop and undergo testing as soon as possible.

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