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Omicron sub-variant spreads in McDonald’s at Cityplaza

25 May 2022

By The SUN

3 of the 8 infected diners at the McDonald's branch carry the new Omicron strain 

Health officials have confirmed that a new strain of the Omicron variant has spread in McDonald’s restaurant at Cityplaza in Tai Koo Shing.

Three people who had dined at the fast food outlet on May 13 at about the same time as a 64-year-old woman who had the BA.2.12.1 sub-variant were reportedly infected.

The three, comprising a woman and two young family members, live at Mount Parker Lodge in Quarry Bay. A genetic analysis of their infection showed they carried the same strain found in the index patient, so health authorities are convinced an outbreak of the mutant virus has occurred there.


Dr Albert Au of the Centre for Health Protection said at today’s press briefing, “We believe there’s been an outbreak of the BA.12.12.1 at this restaurant.”

Three more people linked to the outbreak were among the 250 new Covid-19 infections reported today. They took the number of patients in the cluster to eight.

The new cases include a 33-month-old boy, his mother and their foreign domestic helper.


According to Au, the boy was taken to the fastfood outlet by the helper at about 10:30am on May 13. Two days later the boy had fever and cough, and tested positive the next day.

He was admitted to Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital on May 17 where his infection was confirmed. But he was discharged the next day after his symptoms eased.

The boy’s mother accompanied her son to the hospital where she also tested positive, while the helper who had no symptoms, was found infected earlier. 


Apart from these six patients, two others who ate at McDonald’s on the same day were tested positive on Monday. They were a 76-year-old woman who lives in Kowloon and a 67-year-old man who lives in Tai Koo.

The patients in the cluster sat at five different tables, said Au. 

A compulsory testing notice has been issued to all those who were at the McDonald’s outlet on the relevant date and time while the restaurant has been closed for disinfecting. Test results on the 21 environmental samples taken from the restaurant have yet to be released.


The index patient in the cluster is a 64-year-old woman who tested positive 12 days after flying in from the United States with her husband, who was also found infected with the sub-variant.

Genetic sequencing found that the couple had caught the Omicron BA.12.12.1 at Lan Kwai Fong hotel in Central, where two travelers from Nepal were earlier found infected with the mutated strain.

Of today’s new cases, 34 were imported, and 24 of these were detected at the airport while six tested positive during hotel quarantine. Two others tested positive on their eighth day, while preparing to travel to the mainland. Officials say both were re-positive cases.

Au said eight more BA.2.12.1 cases were found Monday. Four were imported, including two from the same family who flew in from the U.S.

The remaining four were local cases or import-related cases. They included the three patients in the McDonald’s cluster and a fifth case linked to Lan Kwai Fong hotel.

While preliminary data from the World Health Organization show that the Omicron sub-variant was more infectious, there was no statistic that suggested that it leads to serious illness or death, said Au.

As for schools, 18 new cases were reported by 13 schools, and six of these had come from St. Catherine's International Kindergarten. The latest patients involve 16 students and two teachers.

Hospital Authority's Dr Larry Lee reported no new Covid-related death on Monday, so the city's death toll remained at 9,157.  

There were 484 patients being treated in public hospitals as of Monday. Ten of them are in critical condition while eight are in serious condition. Three of the critical patients are in intensive care. 


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