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Pinay, Indon among 15 new cases; DoH ‘sorry’ for Indian’s quarantine exemption

19 October 2020

By Vir B. Lumicao 

The two FDHs both tested on arrival at HK aiport

A Filipina and Indonesian female helpers aged 48 and 29 were among 14 imported cases and one local case that Hong Kong health officials confirmed today, Oct 19. They brought to 5,257 the total number of coronavirus patients here so far.

The Department of Health, meanwhile, apologized to the public for an incident in which it granted quarantine exemption to an Indian Consulate staff who arrived from New Delhi on Oct 15 and was later found to be positive of Covid-19.

A Centre for Health Protection spokesman said the man, 25, had a negative result from an Indian laboratory recognized by the local government before his flight to Hong Kong.

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Upon arrival, he gave proof that he was a consular staff in Hong Kong, so CHP staff arranged quarantine exemption for him. He then went to the airport testing center where his deep-throat saliva sample was collected.

Afterwards, a car arranged by the consulate drove him home for his 14-day medical surveillance. But when he tested preliminary positive the next day, the CHP immediately moved him to a public hospital.

The CHP was later informed by another government department that the man’s rank did not qualify him for exemption from the compulsory quarantine requirements. This prompted the Health Department’s apology.

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Meanwhile, a CHP spokesman said all of today’s patients were asymptomatic of the virus and were being treated in public hospitals.

The spokesman could not tell whether the Filipina and Indonesian workers were returning from vacation in their respective countries or new hires joining their employers.

He said the Filipina arrived on Saturday on Cathay Pacific Flight CX906 from Manila while the Indonesian flew in Sunday on Cathay Flight CX798 from Jakarta.

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Among today’s patients were a 38-year-old male passenger and a 39-year-old female who arrived Sunday on Air India Flight AI314 from Delhi, and a 50-year-old woman who flew in from Delhi on Oct 5.

Two male passengers aged 41 and 26 who arrived on a Cathay flight from London on Sunday also tested positive.

A UPS Flight 64 cargo crew who arrived Saturday from the US, an AirBridge Cargo flight crew that landed from Kazakhstan and Sunday, an Aeroflot airliner crew who flew in from Moscow on Sunday were also found infected.

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Another man from Russia who arrived on Oct 8 and was staying in quarantine on Lamma Island tested positive today, the spokesman said.

The other imported cases were two males aged 34 and 35 who arrived from Istanbul on Saturday, as well as a woman aged 59 who arrived from Spain on Oct 4.

The lone local case was a 21-year-old woman who was linked to an earlier confirmed case from the Royal Garden cluster a week ago.

Hong Kong’s public hospitals released nine patients in the last 24 hours, bringing to 4,982 the number of those with confirmed or probable cases who were released.

A total of 127 confirmed patients are still being treated in 18 public hospitals, among whom 12 are in critical condition, five in serious condition and 110 in stable condition.

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