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16 airport staff quarantined after Omicron variant found in stranded passenger

02 December 2021

By The SUN 

CHP says no trace of Omicron was found in the places visited by the infected man 

Health authorities said tonight, Dec 2, that 16 staff of Hong Kong International Airport will be moved to Penny’s Bay Quarantine Centre after being tagged as close contacts of a stranded passenger found to carry the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The statement from the Centre for Health Protection also said the areas where the 38-year-old male passenger who arrived from Nigeria via Qatar had stayed, have been disinfected.

“All of the 13 post-disinfection environmental samples taken by the CHP from the concerned area have tested negative,” added the statement.


The infected passenger arrived at Hong Kong International Airport from Doha aboard QR818 on Nov 24 for transit, but was stuck because of visa problems.

His case prompted a top microbiologist to call on the Airport Authority to tighten anti-Covid restrictions on transit passengers.

Speaking on a radio program, Ho Pak-leung from the University of Hong Kong said that at the very least, the patient should have been tested for Covid-19 everyday while he was at the airport.



“If he’s stranded, at least he should be tested every day. If he’s expected to stay here for a relatively longer period, he should be sent into quarantine. If he's allowed to stay at the airport's restricted area, he’d come into contact with airport staff and other travelers and there’s risk of cross-infection,” he said.

Leung also asked if it was possible to require even transit passengers to be fully vaccinated, and for the authorities to speed up the process of identifying whether infected patients had the variant.

The Airport Authority, meanwhile, has said airlines are required to complete all transits within 24 hours or face punishment. The concerned airline is now being investigated.


The Authority also said there are no more stranded passengers at the airport now.

All six passengers who tested positive for Covid-19 carried the strain often linked to Delta variant

Also today, the Centre for Health Protection reported six additional confirmed cases of Covid-19, and all of them are imported and carry the L452R mutant strain commonly linked to the Delta variant.

One of the patients, a 38-year-old man who came from Qatar via QR818 and had been to several African countries earlier, was in Hong Kong during the incubation period, so all the places where he lived and worked will be put under compulsory testing notice.

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Also among the confirmed cases is that of a 22-year-old man from Pakistan who was moved to Penny’s Bay earlier after people he had traveled with on flight EK384 from United Arab Emirates on Nov 21 were previously found infected.

Two patients tested positive on arrival at the airport, including a 60-year-old man who came from the United Kingdom via flight CX252 on Nov 30 and a 30-year-old man who flew in from South Africa and the Netherlands via KL819 on Nov 30.

Two others were in quarantine: a 53-year-old man who came from the United States on flight CX881 on Nov 28 and was staying at Pentahotel in Kowloon, and a 40-year-old woman who came from Russia and Finland via flight AY101 on Nov 28, and was at Nina Hotel in Aberdeen.

They took Hong Kong’s total Covid-19 tally to 12,445 cases and one probable case.

An update from CHP said it is investigating the case of a 28-year-old woman who tested preliminary positive for Covid-19 with the L452R mutant strain after arriving from the United States yesterday, Dec 1. She left Hong Kong for the US on Nov 20.

As she was in Hong Kong during the incubation period, her residential block, On Kin House, On Tin House, Lamtin, has been locked down overnight, and all residents there subjected to compulsory testing.

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